Memphis Zoo mourns death of Sumatran tigress

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials at the Memphis Zoo are mourning the death of Ratu, a Sumatran tigress who has been at the Tennessee facility since 2007. She was 16.

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The big cat came to the zoo when she was 2 years old, the zoo said in a news release.

Ann Chaney, the assistant curator of the zoo’s Cat Country, said zoo officials were “heartbroken” over Ratu’s death.

“One of the oldest residents of Cat Country, she would have been 17 this June,” Chaney said in a statement. “For the past 14 years, she has given our visitors the rare chance to see a Sumatran tiger. With only about 500 of these incredible animals left in the world, we were truly lucky and honored to have her here.”

Ratu suffered from geriatric kidney failure, the zoo said in its release. When her condition began to decline, the zoo’s care team made the decision to euthanize her on Saturday.

The big cat had a condition known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a condition where the body does not produce the enzymes needed to digest food.