SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)- Hogle Zoo reports that the resident Amur tiger named Cila has died. The zoo said Cila was “beloved by the community, zoo staff and guests alike.” 

Tigers have a life expectancy of 10-15 years, according to the zoo. Cila was 18 ½. The animal care team and veterinary staff helped make the tiger as comfortable as possible during her final days, a press release from Hogle Zoo explains.

“We celebrate when animals are born, we maintain that celebration throughout the rest of their life, even in their twilight years,” Associate Director of Animal Care Bob Cisneros said, “We care for animals at every stage in life, and remain consistent throughout.”

Cila was born April 17, 2003. She arrived from Indianapolis Zoo in 2015. In her advanced age, she demanded more attention than some of the younger cats, according to zoo officials. 

“We spent a lot of time in the day making sure she was carefully observed and attended to,”  Animal Care Supervisor at Asian Highlands Melanie Kuise said. Despite her focused geriatric care, Cila had a rapid decline in her health. As her health concerns became more serious, zoo staff and management made the difficult decision to say goodbye.

“The Asian Highlands area [of the zoo] is sadly a bit quieter without Cila’s typical calls and vocalizations, and there is a tiger-sized hole in our hearts. Cila will be terribly missed,” Kuse said. Cila was a favorite of the keepers in the Asian Highlands area.

The Amur tiger (also known as the Siberian tiger) occupies parts of Russia, China, and possibly North Korea along the Amur River. Considered to be a critically endangered species with an estimated 500-550 Amur tigers left in the wild, conservation efforts and awareness campaigns rally to bring the population back to sustainable levels.

Amur tigers face the threat of poaching and habitat loss due to illegal deforestation which severely impacts them. Groups like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensure they harvest wood in the best way possible so that tigers and other forest-dwelling animals can continue to thrive.

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Accredited since 1974, the zoo meets the standard of animal care and welfare as established by the AZA. For more information on the zoo and on the Amur tiger, visit the zoo’s website.