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Amur tiger dies at Rolling Hills Zoo near Salina

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, at 5:18 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, at 5:18 p.m.


About Amur tigers

About 150 Amur tigers live at 50 Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions. Amur tigers, also called Siberian tigers, are the largest of the tiger subspecies and are found in the wild in eastern Russia, northeastern China and the northern regions of North Korea. Their environments are harsh, and the tiger has an extra layer of fat to protect it from the cold.

Amur tigers are managed under a Species Survival Program by the association.

There are only about 350 to 400 Amur tigers in the wild. Logging and poaching have reduced their numbers.

Source: Sedgwick County Zoo

Chanda, a beloved Amur tiger at the Rolling Hills Zoo near Salina, died Monday.

She was 17 and had been diagnosed with renal failure.

“She was a beautiful tiger who had lived a long time,” said Vickee Spicer, director of marketing at the zoo. “She actually, like many cats, had kidney problems. We knew it was going to be any time and we were waiting to see if she would go on her own.”

In the end, the tiger was euthanized. A necropsy is needed, Spicer said.

The tiger was born on May 9, 1996, at the Minnesota Zoo. She came to Rolling Hills in 2004 and lived with a white tiger named Raja.

“The tigers have always been very popular,” Spicer said. “She appeared on our billboards.”

Spicer said Raja has been seen wandering around looking for his partner. He is six months older than Chanda.

“Even though they were not a breeding pair, they were companions,” she said.

Rolling Hills, like each of Kansas’ seven accredited zoos, participates in the the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ species survival plan, which often determines the placement and breeding of animals.

“We probably won’t know anything until spring,” Spicer said. “For now, we plan on keeping tigers as part of our family.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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