New England Zoo mourns death of Stone Zoo Jaguar Chessie

STONEHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – Chessie, a female jaguar at Stone Zoo, died Wednesday, March 2.

The jaguar was diagnosed with ovarian and uterine cancer in November 2021, after previously showing no signs of health problems or abnormal activity, according to Zoo New England. The cancer was at an advanced stage, leading zoo staff to humanely euthanize Chessie for quality of life reasons.

“Chessie was an incredible ambassador for her species, and we are deeply saddened to share the news of her passing,” said John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England in a statement. “She has been with us since birth and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Chessie, who was born at Stone Zoo on May 31, 2008, was part of the New England Zoo’s jaguar species survival plan. The plan is a national inter-zoom program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain “genetically diverse and demographically stable populations of captive species”.

She had been paired with a jaguar named Seymour from the Cincinnati Zoo for breeding, but the pair were unable to mate. The researchers then opted for artificial insemination, but during the procedure vets discovered Chassie’s cancer and the plan was scrapped.

Read more: Governor Baker signs executive order to end state contracts with Russia

“While this is not the result we wanted, we hope that one day the samples taken from Seymour can be successfully used to bolster the population of this iconic species,” Linehan said in a statement. “As a conservation organization, we are deeply committed to doing all we can to preserve and protect our planet’s incredible biodiversity.”

Chessie was 13 years old.