Following consultations with the Dudley Zoo’s veterinary team, keepers took the decision to put Bart to sleep after a deterioration of his health in recent days.

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Dudley Zoo Curator Richard Brown, said: “Bart had surpassed the life expectancy of a captive wild cat by more than two years and he was even the oldest one of his species in Europe but he was showing his old age, so the decision was the kindest thing for him. He will be missed as he was quite a character.”

Bart had been at the zoo for 17 year. A Geoffroy’s cat is the size of a domestic cat native to the southern and central regions of South America. Life expectancy in the wild is approximately up to 18 years.