A beloved snow leopard at the Cape May County Zoo has died. Himani, a 17-year-old cat, was euthanized peacefully after a long battle with cancer, according to the zoo.

Himani successfully raised four litters of cubs, boosting the zoo’s Species Survival Program at a time when snow leopard breeding success was at a low point. The success in breeding the big cats garnered national attention for the zoo.

According to a press release from the zoo, “Himani was an incredible mother, and an important member of our Zoo family, she will certainly be missed by the staff and visitors,” said Dr. Alex Ernst, associate veterinarian at the Zoo. “We feel fortunate that she was here with us during the past 12 years. Her contributions to the conservation of her species and to the future of the Cape May County Zoo are immeasurable.”

Himani was born in 2003 and came to the Cape May County Zoo in 2009 from Knoxville, Tennessee. She was paired with Vijay, the zoo’s male snow leopard, and the two successfully raised seven cubs total.

“Himani proved to be an excellent mother, successfully raising seven healthy and strong cubs. Her accomplishment had impacts felt throughout the country,” the zoo said.

Himani’s cubs were moved to zoos across the country, carrying “her legacy and genetics to raise cubs of their own,” according to the zoo.

The Cape May County Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The park and zoo are free, but donations can be made to the zoo via cmczoo.com.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.