Officials euthanized the San Francisco Zoo’s beloved Siberian tiger on Tuesday due to concerns about his quality of life, zoo representatives said.
At 18 years old, “Tony” was the second oldest male Siberian tiger in North America and had been displaying such a declining quality of life in the past few months that euthanasia became the most humane option, officials said.
“Tony was having good days and bad days, but the bad days were becoming more frequent,” said Jacqueline Jencek, the zoo’s chief of veterinary services, in a statement. “We have done everything possible to make him comfortable, but it came to a point where we didn’t want to see him suffer.”
The decision to euthanize Tony was made by the San Francisco Zoological Society, the zoo’s director, and the zoo’s veterinary and animal division teams.
The zoo recently had to call the San Francisco Fire Department to assist Tony out of the moat at the outdoor exhibit.
He was eventually returned to a modified outdoor exhibit that prohibited his access to the moat and accommodated more of his geriatric needs, according to the zoo.
Tony was born at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Ariz., in March 1992 and came to the San Francisco Zoo in June 1993. His pastimes included swimming in his pool, playing, and napping under shady trees.
The zoo still has two Sumatran tigers, a 7-year-old named Leanne and a 20-year-old–the eldest of the zoo’s big cats–named Padang.
Those who want to remember and leave condolences for Tony can do so outside his exhibit area.