One of the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s popular cats, Ayla the female cougar, had to be put down due to health complications of old age last week.
Ayla, at nearly 20 years of age, had a good long life here at the zoo. She spent here first 14 years with Riel (aka Buddy). Max, her mate since 2004, will certainly notice her passing and the zoo will be looking to acquire a replacement for Ayla. Ayla originally came from the Edmonton Valley Zoo and came to the zoo here in Winnipeg in 1991. Max arrived from a zoo in Ontario in 2004.
Cougars (which are also known as puma, mountain lions, catamounts and/or panthers) are normally solitary in the wild. In captivity however, cats are often kept in pairs or small groups to provide them with companionship. Max and Ayla were not part of a breeding program.
Ayla is will always be prominently featured on our cougar interpretive sign, which you can see here: http://assiniboinepark.ca/media/animals/pdf/cougar.pdf