Veterinarians at the Calgary Zoo have euthanized a tiger after an examination Monday night showed her continuing health problems would severely reduce her quality of life.
A necropsy performed Tuesday morning determined that the zoo’s “beloved” Amur (Siberian) tiger, Katja, had ovarian cancer.
READ MORE: LIST: Animal deaths at the Calgary Zoo
Veterinarians had become concerned about the 19-year-old tiger’s health over the past several days, after sudden behaviour changes, such as decreased appetite and activity.
Calling it “an extremely difficult goodbye,” a statement from the zoo called Katja “a cherished member of the Calgary Zoo family.”
She had spent her entire life at the Calgary Zoo, giving birth to three cubs as part of the Species Survival Program.
The zoo’s statement credited those births for “moving us much closer to introducing precious gene diversity back into the wild, in hopes of saving Amur tigers from extinction.”
The statement said: “the zookeepers and veterinary team… are devastated by the loss of this playful tiger, who was always keen to interact with her human caregivers and participate in her daily training sessions.
“Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.”