SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 8, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Kazek, the Hogle Zoo’s 14-year-old Amur tiger, died on Thursday, the zoo announced.
The initial necropsy (animal autopsy) showed an inflamed gastrointestinal tract, and a mass growing in his duodenum. Results will be confirmed pending pathology results.
Keepers of Kazek (CAW-zik) say he wasn’t acting normal for the past few days, and staff members had monitored him around the clock.
“He was a great cat,” said lead keeper, Stephanie Natt, in a prepared statement. “He would chuff at us to say good morning, every morning. He liked participating in his own care, eager to train and was very responsive. We’re really going to miss him.”
Kazek arrived from the Buffalo Zoo in 2006. The zoo said he was among visitors’ favorite animals.
A Hogle Zoo statement says Kazek was a month short of 15 years old, roughly the equivalent to a human of 80 years. He was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2008, and that progressed to liver failure.
Specialized treatment from the Animal Care team allowed the liver to regenerate, the statement says.
“In all my years as a zoo vet, helping Kazek through his severe illness was one of my most satisfying experiences,” said Dr. Erika Crook, associate veterinarian.
Kazek remained on a special diet to manage his IBD and in 2008 he bred with Basha, producing three male cubs. Those cubs, sent to other zoos for breeding, will keep his legacy alive, the Hogle Zoo statement said.
Amur tigers are from far eastern Russia and northeast China. Zoo officials said Amur tigers are the largest of the tiger species and are critically endangered with some estimates at only 400 left in the wild.