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Vilas Zoo Amur Tiger Dies

For more information contact:

Jim Hubing, Zoo Director 266-4733 or Lesley Sillaman, 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/27/2005

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Madison -- Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo staff is sad to report that 18-year-old Amur Tiger, Nicoli was humanely euthanized on April 26th 2005 because of age related deteriorating conditions, degenerative myopathy and muscle atrophy which had been progressing over the past several months leaving Nicoli unable to stand or move normally. The University of Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is completing a post mortem examination.

Nicoli was born at the Knoxville Zoo in 1987 and was transferred to Henry Vilas Zoo in 1989. Big cat keeper, Shane Elsinger described Nicoli as a “great cat, even tempered and reliable, always responding to his keepers with a friendly vocalization,” “Nick always gave a friendly greeting to zoo staff as they passed his exhibit.”

Amur tigers, previously named Siberian tigers, the largest of all big cats, are highly endangered, 151 live in American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) accredited zoos, 300 to 400 are thought to remain in the Amur River valley region of China and Eastern Russia.

Henry Vilas Zoo Director Jim Hubing asked that Nicoli be remembered as a magnificent ambassador for his species, “He loved fresh snow and his exhibits sunny hillside for watching over the zoo.”

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said “I am saddened by the loss but grateful to zoo and veterinary staff for their caring professionalism.” Zoo staff is working with the AZA’s Amur tiger Species survival plan coordinator to receive another amur tiger.

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