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Colorado hyena dies at 23

A Denver Zoo resident since 2004, the zoo called Kibo an "incredibly special, sweet and intelligent hyena."

DENVER — Denver Zoo hyena Kibo has died at age 23 following a battle with cancer, the zoo announced Tuesday.

"We are deeply saddened to share that Kibo, our 23-year-old spotted hyena, was humanely euthanized late last week," said a statement from Denver Zoo.

The zoo shared last month that Kibo had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in his throat and other surrounding organs. 

"In order to provide Kibo with the best possible care and to ensure he was comfortable, he received a variety of treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy from Colorado Animal Specialty & Emergency in Boulder, Colorado," said Denver Zoo. "This palliative radiation treatment helped reduce the size of Kibo’s mass significantly, and made him much more comfortable over the next month."

Last week however, Kibo’s health began to decline significantly, so an emergency anesthetic procedure was done to provide fluids and a number of medications aimed at supporting him and making him feel better. Zoo officials said that while these treatments made Kibo feel better in the short-term, keepers and veterinary staff agreed that all options to keep Kibo comfortable and happy for the long-term had been exhausted.

Credit: Denver Zoo

"The team made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kibo so his quality of life and welfare did not suffer," said Denver Zoo statement. "He passed peacefully, surrounded by the animal care team that loved and cared for him."

Kibo moved to Denver Zoo in 2004 and was one of the first residents of Benson Predator Ridge.

At 23, Kibo was one of the oldest spotted hyenas in AZA-accredited facilities, zoo officials said.

According to Kibo's care team, "he was an incredibly special, sweet and intelligent hyena, who knew more behaviors than any other animal in Predator Ridge. In addition to being very affectionate with his mate, Ngozi, he also loved attention and scratches with wooden back scratchers from his keepers."

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