Paka, a Malyan tiger, was considered an older tiger. Longevity is about 16-20 years for Malayan tigers. The zoo said Paka's health had been declining for the last several weeks. They said they had been closely monitoring his behavior and eating patterns and consulted with an expert in tiger medicine.
The zoo said in order to prevent further suffering, the veterinary and keeper staff chose to euthanize Paka on Saturday.
"It has been difficult to watch Paka decline, he was a very active and vocal tiger who was always engaged with our staff and guests," states Assistant Curator Lyn Myers. "He was a joy to work with and he will be missed by all."
Paka came to Fresno from the San Diego Zoo in October of 2011. He recently sired the 4 tiger cubs born at Fresno Chaffee Zoo in January. Paka sired 5 litters and a total of 14 cubs in his lifetime contributing greatly to the conservation of Malayan tigers.
The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) is a tiger subspecies that inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula and has been classified as endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008. The Malayan and the Indochinese tiger were once thought to be the same subspecies, however recent DNA analysis has shown that they are different enough to warrant their own subspecies classification. Malayan tigers appear to be a slightly smaller subspecies with the average length of a male being 8 ft 6 in (259 cm), and that of a female being 7 ft 10 in (239 cm). Experts believe there are approximately 500 Malayan tigers in existence.