ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Zoo unexpectedly lost its 9-year-old fossa, Rico on Monday. He first came to the zoo under a Species Survival Plan in 2022.

In a Facebook post, the zoo wrote that Rico was found unresponsive early Monday morning, and they are now awaiting his necropsy results to find out what caused his sudden death.

Abilene Zoo: 9-year-old fossa, Rico, unexpectedly passes away

Rico was born July 28, 2014 at Denver Zoo. Since coming to the Abilene Zoo last year, the zoo called him “an amazing ambassador for his species.”

Fossas are cat-like animals who feed on other mammals. They are largely solitary critters, and typically live for about 20 years.

“Rico in particular might not have been the most fossa of fossas. He seemed to prefer to relax and leave the high energy antics to female fossa Lavavolo, and now their pups. His legacy lies in the fact he and Lavavolo were successful in producing three offspring June 19th. These 11 week old pups are growing quickly and learning from their mother all of the ways a fossa can navigate their forest environment. The female is solely responsible for raising their young as the fossa typically prefers to live a solitary life.”

Mostly, the Abilene Zoo expressed how dearly missed Rico will be by zookeepers and the rest of the team.

One of the things his team adored about him is the way he reacted to smells. Any item covered in the smell of other carnivores or hoofstock from around Abilene Zoo had him rolling around in it! We were lucky to have him call Abilene home,” the zoo added.