Turkmenian Markhor Sproing. deceased.


Remembering Sproing

May 13, 2024 | 3 minute read

One of the hardest things we do is say goodbye to the animals we love and care for. Earlier today, we said goodbye to our geriatric, 19-year-old Turkmenian markhor, ‘Sproing’, who had been dealing with numerous age-related degenerative health challenges.

Throughout her golden years, Sproing received unwavering care from our Animal Care, Health & Welfare (ACHW) team, including daily dietary supplements and medications to ease the effects of arthritis and ensure her comfort. With this steadfast support, she remained stable for many years. However, over the last year her dedicated caregivers noted her age-related progressive decline as increased stiffness and loss of body condition set in that were increasingly not responding to her treatments. Our Animal Care, Health & Welfare team made the compassionate decision that euthanasia was in her best interest.

Sproing’s journey with us began in 2005 when she arrived from Winnipeg at just 7 months old. She was a mother to one of our previous markhor “Cricket” who passed away last year at 16 years of age. Her remarkable life with us surpassed all expectations as she outlived her daughter and defied the median life expectancy of her species, which stands at 8.6 years. In fact, at the time of her passing, she was the oldest markhor in the North America population and 10th oldest female markhor on current record in the global Zoo Information Management System. Sproing’s legacy stands as a testament to the exceptional care she received throughout her long and cherished life with us.

Sproing’s passing coincided with the on-park debut of two new markhors to our herd. This timing was not coincidental but was rooted in careful planning and commitment to species wellbeing at an individual and herd level. Behind every such decision lies a complex framework of population management, expertise, and foresight. Population and succession planning are crucial elements to ensuring the animals in our care can live healthy and fulfilling lives, while also managing the long-term wellbeing of their species.

Recognizing several years ago that our herd was aged, our ACHW team diligently worked with the markhor Species Survival Plan to identify suitable companions for our two-year-old male ‘Cliff’. This process led to three-year-old sisters, ‘Cy’ and ‘Phoenix’, joining our zoo family after careful consideration. The two newcomers arrived in Calgary in early April and have resided at our offsite Wildlife Conservation Center since then. Their arrival on zoo grounds and introduction to Cliff was strategically timed to minimize stress for all involved. Throughout this process, our dedicated ACHW team remained steadfast in their commitment to Sproing’s comfort and well-being, ensuring she maintained a quality of life until the very end while also balancing the social needs of “Cliff”. The tireless efforts of our ACHW team underscore the profound care and consideration that define our approach to animal stewardship. Additional information about the health challenges that led to Sproing’s euthanasia will be confirmed once the results of the necropsy with additional testing are available.

Sproing spent almost her whole lifetime with us here in Calgary and she will be deeply missed by staff, volunteers and the thousands of visitors who loved her. Please keep our ACHW team in your thoughts during this difficult time.