January 19, 2007, 1:45 PM EST
WEST PALM BEACH – Townee, the Bengal tiger who entertained and awed thousands of visitors at the Palm Beach Zoo for almost two decades, died Thursday night, a zoo spokeswoman said on Friday. He was 20 years old.
The 400-pound male tiger had been under treatment for arthritis and kidney disease for many months. He was humanely euthanized on Thursday evening, a zoo spokesman said.
Townee, pronounced Tony, was one of the best known animals at the 50-year-old zoo, said Gail Eaton, the zoo’s chief marketing officer.
And the giant cat was reported to be one of the oldest tiger’s living in captivity.
Townee was born in January 1987 and came to the Palm Beach Zoo in November of that year after being confiscated by the state wildlife officers as an illegal pet in Miami Dade County.
In 1989, Townee took up with a tigress named Kali, who came to the facility from the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee. Townee and Kali lived together from 1989 to 2002 when the tigress died of cancer.
Recently, Townee shared his “Tiger Falls” home at the zoo with new Malayan tiger arrivals “Mata” and Rimba.”
Anyone who wants to pay tribute to Townee can send a donation to the Palm Beach Zoo Tiger Conservation Fund at 1301 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.