Snow leopard at John Ball Zoo dies after long battle with cancer

Snow leopard dies at John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - An 18-year-old endangered snow leopard at the John Ball Zoo has died after a long battle with cancer. 

Mi-Shan, a "much-loved" member of the zoo was euthanized after her soft tissue sarcoma took an aggressive turn last week and her quality of life significantly deteriorated, according to the zoo.

The zoo's snow leopard was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and had gone through a number of surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy to combat it. This week marked the end of a year long intensive treatment for her cancer.

Mi-Shan had spent 15 years at the John Ball Zoo, arriving in June of 2002 from the Sacramento Zoo. During her time in Grand Rapids, she was an important part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a cooperative breeding and population management program. Mi-Shan gave birth to Krashniya, a female cub in 2003 -- Krashniya lives in at the Sacramento Zoo. 

It's estimated that there are fewer than 7,000 snow leopards in mountains of central Asia, where they reside, the zoo said. John Ball Zoo is one of 70 institutions that work to preserve snow leopard life through the SSP. 

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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