Two tigers have had to be put down at separate zoos in the East of England this week.
Colchester Zoo in Essex announced the death of its “beloved” Amur tiger, Anoushka, on Wednesday.
On the same day, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in Norfolk, said Sumatran Tiger, Dua, had died.
Both female tigers were aged 19, and keepers at both zoos said the animals’ health had been deteriorating significantly because of their age.
Dua’s keepers at Thrigby, near Great Yarmouth, said it was with “heavy hearts and deep sorrow” that they had to share the news of her death.
She had been at the zoo since 2005, “capturing the hearts of staff and visitors alike with her majestic presence and unique personality”, they wrote on Facebook.
Scott Bird, its zoological director, said: “She was not only a magnificent tiger but also an ambassador for her species, inspiring countless visitors to appreciate and support tiger conservation efforts.
“We will forever remember her with gratitude and love.”
The tiger had been “showing signs of health changes typical of a geriatric cat”, the park said.
“In the last few days her health deteriorated, and the decision was made to put her to sleep in the interest of her welfare.”
Colchester Zoo said it was “deeply saddened to announce the passing of Anoushka, or Nush as she was affectionately known by her keepers”.
She had been part of the zoo for 18 years and was “a firm favourite with many visitors”.
Head keeper Ang Matthews said: “Anoushka was renowned for her princess-like behaviour, avoiding water where she could and dramatically shaking her feet if she got wet.
“She was always pristine in appearance and liked to be independent – doing her own thing.
“The tigers all enjoy scent enrichment. Anoushka particularly liked fruity perfumes and her preferred scent was always ‘Tommy Girl’, so this will always remind me of her.”
The zoo said the average longevity of an Amur tiger was about 15 years, “so at the age of 19, the team knows that she lived a long and happy life”.
Like Dua, Nush had been under the care of a vet, but the “incredibly difficult” decision to put her to sleep was “the last and kindest decision to make for her given her recent deterioration”, the zoo added.
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