After monitoring Willy the fossa’s health and quality of life over the past five months, keepers and vet staff made the hard decision to euthanize him. Having cared for him for almost two decades, I will certainly miss him.
Willy came to us from the San Antonio Zoo in 1999, along with his sister Jenny. They were the first fossa to come to our zoo, and Willy may be the last.
He lived a good long life, and I’m grateful to have been a part of that. It was a lot of fun getting to know fossa behavior and hearing all their unique vocalizations. Willy and his mate, Banham, lived together for many years and got along great. They had two litters together. Two of his offspring are at Staten Island and another is at San Antonio Zoo.
Fossa are strong and agile animals and it was always a challenge to create an environment for them that they couldn’t destroy. I enjoyed that challenge and being able to teach guests about this unusual species. They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, with numbers still declining, and are not a common animal in Zoos.
Also, the keeper staff along with the vets made the decision to euthanize Willy.
Willy will be sorely missed. I don’t think we will ever have another animal like him. It has certainly been a unique and rewarding experience to work with fossa. Not many people get to do that!