A rare snow leopard who fathered two litters of cubs has died at a zoo.
Indeever came to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire from Zurich in 2010 aged two. He was put to sleep after developing arthritis and kidney disease.
The zoo said Indeever was a “joyful character”. His cubs included Kadhir and Kamala in 2011 and Ajendra and Animesh in 2013.
It is thought there are fewer than 10,000 mature snow leopards left in the wild, with populations decreasing.
Marwell said his successful breeding, with lifelong companion Irina, was particularly important as snow leopards are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.
Indeever and Irina arrived at the park 12 years ago as part of the European endangered species breeding programme (EEP).
They had two litters of three cubs, although one cub from the first litter died later in 2011.
Carrie Arnold, animal team leader, said Indeever would be “sadly missed”
“Indy loved playing hide and seek. Every morning he would run around or hide behind rocks to avoid us.
“When we spotted him, he would turn around and sprint off in the other direction.”
Scans in the summer discovered he had arthritis in his pelvis and one of his knees.
Indeever had been on pain relief before his condition deteriorated again earlier this week.
In the wild, snow leopards live largely solitary lives at high altitudes in steep terrain in the mountains of central Asia and the Himalayas.
The animals are gradually being pushed out of their natural habitat due to destruction, livestock grazing, their prey being hunted by humans and other conflicts with people.