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Max the Tiger Dies at Blank Park Zoo


DES MOINES, Iowa (March 28, 2017) Blank Park Zoo’s 6-year-old male tiger, ‘Max’ died last Tuesday. The tiger had been showing signs of illness since the end of February, and died during a second diagnostic procedure to determine the cause of his illness.

A necropsy was performed at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to determine the cause of his decline. Extensive testing identified lymphoma, a type of cancer, as the cause of Max’s illness and death.

“Max was a magnificent tiger. He was powerful, expressive, intelligent and always a gentleman to his mate Misha. We are so honored to have gotten to work with him and equally saddened by his passing,” said Bonnie VanEllen, carnivore and primate area supervisor.

Max came to Blank Park Zoo in June 2016. Remaining at Blank Park Zoo is Misha, a female Amur tiger that came to Blank Park Zoo in 2015.

Amur tigers are the largest of the great cats and can eat up to 10 or more pounds of meat a day. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a male Amur tiger has a median life expectancy of 16 years. The Wildlife Conservation Society Siberian Tiger Project estimates only 350 Amur tigers remain in the wild.

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In accredited zoos, the placement of tigers is controlled by a Species Survival Program (SSP). This program is in place to ensure the survival of Amur tigers in zoos. Zoo officials will work with the SSP to have another tiger placed at Blank Park Zoo with Misha.

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