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Cameron Park Zoo announces the death of its 15-year-old male Sumatran tiger

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 07, 2024

WACO, Texas (KXXV) — The Cameron Park Zoo announced the passing of its 15-year-old male Sumatran tiger on Friday.

Kucing was born on November 2008, at the San Diego Zoo, and came to Cameron Park Zoo in March 2010 — he was one of the three oldest males globally and the eldest male in North America, according to officials.

Kucing was undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, a type of cancer that was affecting his spleen, when he passed away on Wednesday.

"A necropsy was performed, and preliminary results indicate that complications secondary to treating his cancer were the likely cause of death — a final report is pending," officials said.

"Kucing's mate, Maharani, has also resided at Cameron Park Zoo since March 2010 and remains an important ambassador for her species — at 18 years old, Maharani is one of the two oldest females in the United States and one of the seven oldest females in that age bracket globally."

According to Cameron Park Zoo officials, Sumatran tigers, the smallest subspecies, inhabit the lowland and mountain forests on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.

"Weighing between 200 and 300 pounds as mature adults, these majestic animals face grave threats from poaching, habitat loss due to logging and palm oil production, and dwindling prey populations."

"With only 400-600 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, they are listed as critically endangered."

The Cameron Park Zoo will begin working with the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan to identify a potential new breeding pair to move to its tiger facility.

"It's a constant effort," said Zoo Director, Brendan Wiley.

"We have an amazing team of people that, even as they mourn the loss of Kucing, continue to work for species survival."

"The loss of Kucing reminds us of the urgency of our mission to ensure the survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tigers and their habitats. With a global zoo population of only 278 individuals, every tiger is important, and every loss is deeply felt," officials said.