Reid Park Zoo says goodbye to 19-year-old Malayan tiger

Reid Park Zoo says goodbye to 19-year-old Malayan tiger
Malayan tiger, Sita at the Reid Park Zoo (Source: Reid Park Zoo)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Reid Park Zoo said goodbye to Sita, the 19-year-old Malayan tiger on July 2, 2020.

She was humanely euthanized for advanced kidney disease. The median life expectancy for Malyan tigers is 16 years.

Reid Park Zoo welcomed Sita in 2011. She was one of the first animals guests saw as they entered the Zoo.

Before coming to Reid Park Zoo, Sita developed kidney disease at 7-years-old. Sita received treatment for her kidneys as well as a variety of medications for her arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatic insufficiency as she aged.

The arthritis treatment helped Sita continue moving around comfortably, even chasing wild birds in her habitat in the last few weeks.

On Monday, June 29, she showed extreme lethargy and was moved to the Zoo’s Health Center for a full exam. Dr. Roth, Zoo Veterinarian, found her kidney disease had progressed and her health had significantly declined.

“Kidney disease is a common condition in elderly domestic cats and we frequently see it in big cats as well. The condition is treated the same in large and small cats, with oral medication and fluids,” Roth said. “In animals we cannot do dialysis like in humans and ultimately the treatments we can provide are only successful for a limited period.”

Even with supplemental fluids given at the Health Center, she was not responding to treatment. She was humanely euthanized on Thursday, June 31.

It is estimated there are fewer than 350 Malayan tigers in the wild. Reid Park Zoo is committed to raising awareness of the challenges and threats to tigers in the wild, and inspiring individuals to take action to aid the survival of this species.

You can pay tribute to Sita and her species by supporting companies that use sustainably harvest palm oil, thereby preserving important tiger habitat.

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