Edmonton Valley Zoo’s Siberian tiger, Boris, has died
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
EDMONTON – Edmonton’s Valley Zoo has lost its Siberian tiger, Boris, to a respiratory infection.
“We did everything possible to try to help him get better,” said the zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. Milton Ness, in a release. “We had been treating Boris for several weeks, drawing on the North American veterinarian expertise available in dealing with tigers. This is a very sad time for all of us.”
Boris was born at the Granby Zoo in Quebec on Aug. 7, 1999, and moved to Edmonton on May 12, 2006. He died Monday, the zoo said today.
Results of a post-mortem are expected next week.
Because of his Quebec roots, Boris was thought to respond particularly well to the sound of French. A zookeeper started speaking to him in French last year, and visitors were encouraged to communicate with him in that language.
Sandy Helliker, the zoo’s representative with the Species Survival program, worked with Boris occasionally in her role as animal health technologist. She said Boris was a very special tiger.
“He was a very outgoing animal, especially an outgoing tiger towards people,” Helliker said. “They’re all special in their own way and some you make a connection with. He’s one of those ones who was just easy to make a connection with.”
A second tiger was to be transferred to the zoo this fall, but the transfer was put on hold so staff could care for Boris. The transfer, part of the species survival program in which the Valley Zoo participates, will now proceed, the zoo said.
Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are critically endangered, with an estimated 400 to 500 in the wild.
In June 2007, the zoo had to euthanize Rachelle, an 18-year-old tiger who came from the Chicago Zoo in 1996. Siberian tigers generally don’t live beyond 15 years, the zoo said at the time.