SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The oldest living male Amur tiger in captivity died at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo yesterday. Toma, 18, is survived by his mate, Tatiana, who lives at the zoo, and three cubs in zoos across the country.
Toma was born in 2001 at the Toronto Zoo. At five-years-old, Toma moved to the Buffalo Zoo due to a Species Survival Plan sanctioned by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The association has attempted to save the species by breeding genetically- strong offspring in human care.
Currently, fewer than 400 of these tigers remain in the wild. Amur tigers were formerly called Siberian Tigers. They are indigenous to Siberia and now only live along the Amur River basin in Eastern Russia. In the past decade, Amur tigers became endangered as a result of human poaching and loss of habitat.
Toma began showing signs of severe abdominal discomfort two weeks ago, according to zoo staff. They called Cornell University’s veterinary team but its tests showed severe inflammation of the Toma’s gastrointestinal tract.
So the veterinary team and zoo animal care specialists said they decided to euthanize Toma. They said results from a necropsy confirmed that Toma’s conditions were associated with cancer.
“Toma was a remarkable animal, both for his majestic presence and his longevity despite health challenges,” said Ted Fox, the zoo’s director. “We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him and care for him to the very end of his long life.”