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Two animals whose species are both classified as endangered have passed away at a cat park in Ashford this morning.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, a 32 acre animal park that homes more than 50 wild cats in Smarden, has announced the death of both their cheetah Keene and Amur leopard Artur – the fourth and fifth cats to die respectively at the park this year.

Press officer Tanith Brown admits the Sanctuary’s team are “exceptionally proud” of the care given to the two cats following their battles with illness.

She said: “Artur was such a noticeable and unmissable figure, so much so that breeding partner Xizi is already noticing his absence.

Embed from Getty Images

Cheetahs are the planet’s most endangered big cat

“Meanwhile, Keene’s purrs and intelligence will also be missed given he was such a beloved member of the Sanctuary, so whilst his passing was less sudden, it still hasn’t made it any easier.

“So that’s made it a really distressing time for us, because it’s felt like relentless sadness this year grieving one cat after another.

“But we’re exceptionally proud that we have managed to have Artur until he was 18 years-old and then Keene who was born in 2010 – it’s an absolute testament to the amazing care given to them by our team, who of course know that having big and wild cats in captivity can be tricky.”

The Sanctuary previously announced the loss of its white tigress Narnia back in March, just weeks after the deaths of fellow cheetah Martin and lion Kafara in January.

Artur was 18 upon his deathVideo: The Big Cat Sanctuary

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June 2024