APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — A 12-year-old Amur tiger died of cardiac failure during a health exam at the Minnesota Zoo on Wednesday.
"This was a routine procedure that is a vital part of our care and conservation work for tigers," said Minnesota Zoo's Chief of Animal Care Dr. Taylor Yaw in a news release.
"We plan weeks ahead for these types of exams. All necessary precautions were taken, and the team did everything within their power to save this animal. We'll continue to learn more in the days and months ahead, and we are grateful for the support of the University of Minnesota's pathology team for their expertise and support as a necropsy is conducted."
The tiger came to the Minnesota Zoo in 2015.
“Today is an incredibly hard day for all of us at the Minnesota Zoo and we will be mourning for quite some time,” said Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley added in a statement.
Born in 2009 in the Czech Republic and given the name Putin, the tiger lived at the Denmark Zoo for six years before coming to Minnesota.
There are about 103 Amur tigers in accredited zoos in North America and fewer than 500 still surviving in the wild.
According to the zoo, the first tigers arrived in Apply Valley more than 40 years ago, and since then 44 tiger cubs have been born at the Minnesota Zoo.
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