CINCINNATI (WLWT) — Popsy, the remaining white tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo, was euthanized Thursday due to age-related issues, zoo officials said.
The 22-year-old rare white tiger was the oldest of her kind in any accredited North American Zoo, WLWT reports.
The average lifespan for a tiger is 15-20 years.
Popsy arrived in Cincinnati from Nashville in June 1996. Popsy and her sister, Erica, were named after the late Erich Kunzel, conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, and a large supporter of the Cat Ambassador Program.
She spent the last 10 years with male companion Akere, who passed away in December 2017.
“The animal health staff has been closely monitoring Popsy’s medical condition over the past several months,” said Dr. Mark Campbell, director of animal health. “As a geriatric tiger she had several health issues we were managing and treating. The animal health and care staff collaboratively concluded that we were unable to continue to maintain her good quality of life.”
The white tiger habitat had been modified with ramps and a shallow section in the pool to allow easier access for the aging animal.
The white tiger is not an albino – the white coat and icy blue eyes are simply an expression of recessive genes.
White tigers have been at the Cincinnati Zoo since 1974 and have been very popular with visitors.