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Stone Zoo mourns the loss of Blue the cougar

The staff at Zoo New England’s Stone Zoo is deeply saddened to share that earlier today Blue the cougar passed away.

Blue, age 9, began experiencing seizures several months ago and had responded well to treatment. However, within the last 24 hours he experienced multiple seizures and was no longer responding to medication. Due to the frequency and severity of the seizures, his rapidly declining health and a poor prognosis for his quality of life, the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

“We are completely heartbroken to share this news about Blue. He has been an incredible presence at Stone Zoo since he arrived as a very young cub. Guests had the opportunity to watch Blue grow up, and we know there are many people who love him as much as we do,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “This is an incredibly sad day, and we appreciate everyone who is keeping our animal care team in their thoughts.”

In 2014, Blue, then a tiny 5-pound cub, was found alone near Salmon, Idaho. At his young age, it was determined it would not be possible to successfully return him to the wild. He needed a home, and the staff at Stone Zoo was happy to provide this for him.

Pete Costello, Stone Zoo Assistant Curator, traveled to Idaho to bring Blue to his new home in Massachusetts. Caring for a 4-week-old cougar cub required around-the-clock dedicated attention by the Zoo’s skilled animal care and veterinary teams. Once he was big enough, guests had the opportunity to watch him explore his nursery space at Stone Zoo. When he outgrew this space, he settled into his permanent home within the Treasures of the Sierra Madre section of the Zoo. Blue loved to roll around pumpkins, and he also especially liked different scents including ginger powder and pumpkin pie spice.

“With cougars, their aloofness makes them so endearing, and Blue took this to another level. Blue was one of my favorites, and he will be greatly missed not only by me, but by everyone who knew him,” Costello said.

One of the largest of the wild cats in North America, the cougar is also known as a panther, painter, mountain lion, puma and catamount. Although the cougar’s United States range has diminished throughout the last century, they still have the widest distribution of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They range from the Yukon in Canada through the western portion of the United States and a small portion of the eastern United States to Patagonia. Cougars are found in all habitats from lowlands to mountainous regions and from deserts to tropical forests.