ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Zoo’s Amur tiger Kalista has passed away. The Saint Louis Zoo said Kalista died in her Big Cat Country habitat on Saturday, March 27 at 19 years and 10 months old. They announced her death Friday.
The zoo said they were treating her for “age-related degenerate joint disease for several years.” At some point the treatment was not enough to keep Kalista “comfortable and pain free,” so the Animal Care and Veterinary teams decided “euthanasia was the most humane option.”
According to the zoo, Kalista was the oldest living female Amur tiger in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) North American Species Survival Plan Program (SSP). The average life span of a female Amur tiger is 14.3 years.
The zoo’s Amur tiger Waldemere (Waldo) is the oldest living male tiger at 18 years and 10 months old. The average life span of a male Amur tiger is 16 years.
The zoo said Kalista gave birth to her first litter at age 7 in 2008. It was a “rare, large litter of five cubs.” Usually Amur tigers have litters of two or three.
“Kalista was a very social and energetic tiger. She enjoyed interacting and training with the keepers and greeted everyone with a ‘chuff,’ which is a tiger-specific vocalization showing affection. We will all miss her,” Saint Louis Zoo Curators of Carnivores Steve Bircher and Kevin Beckman said.