A 15-year-old mountain lion, kept at the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette, died this week of complications from cancer.
He was one of the center's two mountain lions. Both were given to the center 15 years ago after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confiscated the litter mates from a Michigan man who was taking the lion pups to bars to show off to friends, said Annalynn Hammond, center lead wildlife technician.
The mountain lion, who had a penchant for rats, loved to play with rubber balls in his enclosure and "play stalk" the thousands of tourists and students that visited the center over the last decade and a half.
"It's not unheard of (for mountain lions) to live 16 years, Hammond said, "but anything above 14 is a senior citizen."
The center, which is open for tours year-round, probably will not seek a replacement cat until its other 15-year-old mountain lion dies.