Aldergrove Zoo tiger dies at 18

The Greater Vancouver Zoo announced Tuesday that it has euthanized its eldest Siberian tiger, Sweetie.

Sweetie has been under constant veterinary care over the past month, said zoo general manager Jodie Henderson.

She has been suffering from loss of appetite, respiratory distress, and has been lethargic.

Medications and attempts to stimulate her appetite were not successful, and her condition continued to decline, said Henderson.

Sweetie was born at the zoo and was 18 years old. Henderson said the median life expectancy of female Siberian tigers in captivity is about 14 years.

A necropsy was conducted by Dr. Bruce Burton, a veterinarian to the zoo’s animals. He found that Sweetie had a large hiatal hernia in her diaphragm, one that had likely congenital and had been there since she was born, said Burton.

“She did extremely well to live one year, let alone 18, considering the size of the hernia,” said Burton.

Henderson said since Sweetie’s death the zoo has received many thoughtful emails and Facebook posts.

The zoo staff will miss Sweetie, who was “a very special part of our zoo family,” said Henderson.

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