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Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls Zoo Amur tiger passes away

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Falls Zoo announced Thursday the passing of its 18-year-old Amur tiger, Basha.

She passed due to complications associated with old age on April 6.

She was the oldest living tiger at any Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo. The average life span for females of her species is 14.3 years. 

With her advancing age, veterinary and animal care staff had been closely monitoring and evaluating Basha’s health over several years. In recent months, she experienced a significant decline in her health that dramatically accelerated over the last few weeks. When her condition advanced to the point that medical treatment no longer kept her comfortable and pain free, animal care and veterinary teams jointly decided that euthanasia was the most humane option.

Basha was a favorite of zoo guests. She liked pushing her ball around and chasing it down the hill of her exhibit. Chasing wild ducks that dared come into her yard, laying under her favorite lilac bush, and watching everybody from atop her hill were also favorite pastimes. 

“I will miss Basha’s unique charm and independent personality,” said Katie Barry, carnivore keeper and Basha’s lead caregiver. “After years of caring for a magnificent animal like Basha, you form a special bond. In the afternoons, I would take some time and visit Basha who would come to the side of her enclosure to spend time with me. When I would need to leave, she would show her disapproval in ending our time with a rather loud growl.”

Born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo on February 16, 2003, Basha came to the Idaho Falls Zoo May 15, 2012 by recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Amur tigers.

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