Our keepers are heartbroken at the death of the much-loved female Amur tiger Sveta, which happened on 24 June during a routine contraceptive implant operation and while under anaesthetic. Following a post-mortem it is thought that the cause of her death may have been due to a heart defect.
The team here at Banham Zoo are waiting for further sample analysis and a full report.
Gary Batters, Joint Managing Director, Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “Sveta was a beautiful and much loved part of our zoo community and her sudden death is heartbreaking for the keepers who’ve worked tirelessly during Covid-19 to care for all our animals. She will be greatly missed.”
The Zoological Society of East Anglia is a partner in the European Breeding Programme for the Amur tiger (also known as the Siberian tiger) which is the largest of all the big cats. Sveta who was 11 years 8 months old, gave birth to two cubs in 2013 which were fathered by her Amur tiger mate Kuzma.
Amur tigers are one of nine subspecies of tiger, three of which are now extinct. They are endangered due to habitat loss and hunting and it is thought there are currently around 250 adults in the wild. Amur tigers live 10 – 14 years in the wild. In captivity they can live up to 20 years although their average life expectancy is around 14-16 years.
Amur tiger, Kuzma, has been on a period of loan to Knowsley Safari Park near Liverpool since August 2019 as part of the European Breeding Programme and is due to return to Banham Zoo on 28 June.
Gary Batters added: “It is especially sad that Sveta’s mate, Kuzma, when he returns, will not have the reunion with Sveta which we had all wished for.”
Banham Zoo will reopen to the public on Saturday 4th July following our closure during the Covid-19 pandemic.