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Jai, 17-year-old Sumatran tiger at Phoenix Zoo, has died

Jai - Phoenix Zoo photo.jpg
Posted at 1:58 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 16:12:32-05

PHOENIX — Jai, a 17-year-old male Sumatran tiger who lived at the Phoenix Zoo, was euthanized on Tuesday after he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and his health declined, the zoo announced Wednesday.

“We will miss his ‘roars’ to greet the carnivore keeper staff in the mornings, and his ‘grumbles’ while he impatiently waited for his keepers to get his diet ready – and letting them know his displeasure over the perceived wait,” said Kara Schilling, curator of mammals at the Phoenix Zoo, in a statement.

“He was a very vocal cat who always made his viewpoints known. He will be greatly missed!" she said.

The zoo said Jai had a history of "elevated renal values, but recently "became clinically affected by the disease. He was also treated for a secondary urinary tract infection with antibiotics.

“We made the difficult decision as an animal care team when we felt his quality of life was severely impacted,” said Dr. Gary West, senior vice president of animal health and living collections, in a statement.

“Ultimately, because it requires anesthesia to give him supportive care and fluid therapy, we decided that we would not continue to do that. The team decided that when his appetite greatly decreased, and his activity level declined we would proceed with euthanasia."

Jai was born in the Louisville, Kentucky Zoo and was transferred to the Phoenix Zoo in 2005.

With Jai's death, the zoo has one tiger, Joanne, who joined the zoo in June 2021. The zoo said tigers are typically solitary animals in the wild and partner for breeding purposes.

The Phoenix Zoo has announced the deaths of a handful of animals in recent years for various health reasons, including Daniel, a 15-year-old orangutan, Cookie, a 22-year-old African lion, Sheena, a 50-year-old Asian elephant, Reba, a 51-year-old Asian elephant, and Zuri, a 17-year-old reticulated giraffe.

In 2020, Howie, a rhino, came to the Phoenix Zoo from Florida. In 2021, Chuttie, a greater one-horned rhinoceros came to the Phoenix Zoo from the Fresno Chafee Zoo in California. The zoo also welcomed a new Andean bear, a trio of Emperor Tamarins, and a baby siamang.