Viktor, a 17-year-old Amur tiger at the Erie Zoo, died Saturday morning.
Emily Smicker, marketing and event coordinator for the Erie Zoological Society, said Viktor had undergone a procedure on Tuesday to remedy an ingrown claw, perform a general health exam and obtain diagnostics related to mild symptoms of lethargy and lack of appetite.
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Erie Zoo Head Veterinarian Jenna Epstein said the medical procedure was risky but necessary.
“As a geriatric animal, we had to weigh the risk of sedating Viktor,” Epstein said in a news release. “But ultimately we determined it was best for his well-being and comfort to move forward with the procedure. Despite our best efforts, he ultimately succumbed to what appears to be a preexisting condition.”
Epstein said Viktor recently exhibited mild but unusual behaviors including lethargy and discolored urine. She said further tests and a necropsy would be conducted to determine the cause of death.
According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival statistics, the median life expectancy for male Amur tigers is 16 years. Viktor, at age 17, spent six years at the Erie Zoo. He was nicknamed “Mr. Floofy” by his caretakers because of his fluffy coat and affectionate personality.
The death follows the loss of Nala, the oldest of three lions at the zoo, on Monday when zoo staff made the decision to euthanize the animal.
“This has been a very challenging time for our zoo family with the passing of both our elderly lioness and now Viktor, especially so close together,” said Roo Kojancie, chief operations officer.
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