Cheyenne Mountain Zoo mourned the death of a rare two-year-old Amur Tiger last week, which was ultimately a very unfortunate accident.
Mila, the Amur tiger, which is an endangered species in the wild, died after suffering a spinal injury upon a fall from a bench at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado, according to the news release issued by the zoo.
Reports said it wasn’t just a cavity because it was creeping into the tiger’s sinuses. Zoo officials said that if left untreated, the dental issue could escalate to an infection, which could be fatal.
Healing Mila was a top priority. Therefore, Mila was put under anesthesia for treatment.
However, Mila jumped onto a bench on which she quickly fell asleep.
One minute later, Mila slipped and fell of the bench landed in such an unnatural position that she died from the injuries.
“She could have slid off from that height a hundred times and landed in a variety of other positions and been unaffected,” Dr. Eric Klaphake, CMZoo head veterinarian, said.
“The team quickly entered her den when it was safe and diligently tried for 40 minutes to give her life-saving care.”
Cheyenne Zoo workers, along with workers of the Toronto Zoo, mourned the loss of Mila saying they are still “emotionally processing” the unfortunate loss. CMZoo said it was working to prevent another animal death at the zoo; Mila is the second Amur tiger to die at the location since 2021 when a tiger named Savelii died after undergoing an insemination procedure.
CMZoo made clear in the news release that the two deaths were unrelated. The fragility of Amur tigers, however, galvanized CMZoo officials to financially support the species both in the zoo and the wild.
“It is sobering to know that no matter how tragic these events are, that we are losing tigers in the wild every day as these animals, and many like them, struggle to survive in a world where there are so many people and so few wild places,” said Bob Chastain, CMZoo president and CEO.
“And that despite the best professional care that we give these animals, accidents can happen and will happen as long as there is a critical need for conservationists to help highly endangered species survive in human care and in the wild.”
An assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2022 determined that the population of Amur tigers is between 265-486 in the Russian Far East. Mila moved to CMZoo in March after she showed signs of readiness to leave her mother at Toronto Zoo. Her solitary behavior, as with all tigers, prevented her from meeting Chewy, the zoo’s male tiger.
CMZoo is incredibly saddened by Mila’s death, which they say would have been nearly impossible to prevent in the split-second timeframe, after it was reportedly making very good progress with her.
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This article by Mataeo Smith was first published by The Mirror on 30 August 2023. Lead Image: Mila’s death came about five months after she was transported to CMZoo from the Toronto Zoo.