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16-year-old “Molniy” considered elder statesman of tigers; had surpassed the frequently-reported lifespan of 10-15 years for wild tigers
Apple Valley, MINN – November 30, 2016 – The Minnesota Zoo is saddened to announce its eldest Amur tiger, “Molniy,” passed away on Sunday, November 27.
Molniy came to the Minnesota Zoo in 2002 from the Detroit Zoo. At age 16, he surpassed the estimated longevity for a wild tiger of 12-15 years, and was considered an elder statesman of the tiger population. He was being treated for a variety of age-related conditions at the Zoo, including arthritis.
“Molniy was a favorite among his zookeepers,” said Northern Trail Curator, Diana Weinhardt. “He will be greatly missed by all the staff who worked with him in the 14 years he was here.”
The Zoo currently cares for three other tigers: “Sundari” (Molniy’s offspring) and “Patrice” (both four years old) along with “Putin” (six years old).
The largest of all cats and one of six remaining tiger subspecies, the Amur tiger is a top predator of far eastern Asia. Amur tigers are carnivores, eating mostly large mammals such as deer and wild boar. They will travel over extensive forest territories in search of food. Concerted conservation efforts help protect these endangered animals from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss.
Amur tigers in human care are managed by the AZA’s Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP). Minnesota Zoo staff members have coordinated the Tiger SSP for more than two decades and continue to lead efforts to save wild tigers. Those efforts include the coordination of the Tiger SSP’s Tiger Conservation Campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the plight of wild tigers and funding for their conservation. Since January 2012, Minnesota Zoo guests, members and supporters have raised funds to support anti-poaching and other conservation efforts in the Russian Far East. Additionally, the Minnesota Zoo is one of 15 coalition members that comprise the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance.
The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. The Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).