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Woodland Park Zoo euthanizes last tiger

Woodland Park Zoo has euthanized its last tiger, because the 20-year-old female had age-related kidney failure. JoJo, a Sumatran tiger, had kidney disease for the last five years.

JoJo and cub. Photo by Dale Unruh, Woodland Park Zoo.

JoJo arrived in 2001 from Memphis Zoo as a breeding companion for the zoo’s only male tiger, Rakata, who passed away in February at age 19. The pair lived compatibly for 11 years and produced five cubs, the last cub born in 2006.

The cat had been declining in health for several months and experienced progressive weight loss and appetite over the past couple of weeks. “Age-related changes in the kidney are a common cause of decline in geriatric zoo cats,” explained the zoo’s Director of Animal Health, Dr. Darin Collins. “We knew JoJo was near the end of her life and the zookeepers and veterinary staff have done an excellent job of making her final days as comfortable as possible.”

The zoo’s animal health team will perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) at the zoo. The zoo will be notified of a final cause of death and related findings pending complete results of histology and other diagnostic testing, which is routine for all animal deaths at the zoo. The remains of the tiger will become part of the research and education collection at The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

The zoo will open a new tiger exhibit in 2014 with Malayan tigers.

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