UPDATE: After an extensive investigation the results of the Siberian tiger’s necropsy showed she died of “a significant left-sided heart failure caused by an unclassified form of cardiomyopathy, a chronic genetic disease of the heart muscle,” according to zoo general manager Jody Henderson.
Staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo are devastated after a Siberian tiger passed away on April 29.
Hani appeared healthy although she had been abnormally off her food for a day, lethargic and her behaviour was off.
She was almost three years old. The median life expectancy for a female Siberian tiger in captivity is 14 years.
Hani was born at a zoo in South Korea in May of 2011.
She arrived at the Greater Vancouver Zoo with her sister, Hana, in June of 2012.
Hani was in the same enclosure with her sister when she died.
General manager Jody Henderson said there was concern for Hana as they do not know what may have caused Hani’s death.
She says Hani was very quiet and liked to be left alone, unlike her sister, who is a very outgoing cat.
“It is devastating because she is too young for this,” says Henderson. “Death is not an easy thing at any age, but when there are young it is just awful. She is a huge member of our family like any other animal here, but when they are young, it is just hard to take.”
The zoo has had a number of deaths in the past, which lead to questions about this latest death at a facility that has been plagued with controversy over the past few years.
“This zoo has a record of animals dying prematurely,” said Peter Fricker with Vancouver Humane Society, “There’s been hippos, giraffes, and now this tiger.”
Over the span of a year in 2011 and 2012, three giraffes died suddenly, prompting an investigation by the SPCA.
Two years prior, four zebras died.
In 2006, the zoo was charged with animal cruelty for its care of a baby hippo.
~With files from Elaine Yong