A 2-year-old female Amur tiger, Mila, has died at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZoo).
Mila had been at the zoo in Colorado Springs since March, coming from the Toronto Zoo, she died Friday, zoo officials said in a news release.
“She was making such great progress with us,” said Rebecca Zwicker, a zoo animal care manager, in the release. “She was a feisty and intelligent tiger, and the team had been patiently and consistently training with her to help her settle in and feel comfortable in indoor and outdoor spaces behind the scenes. She was getting so close to being out where guests could see her. We were excited to introduce her to our community and for people to fall in love with her here, just as they had in Toronto.”
Mila was being treated for a recently discovered and severe dental issue that was advancing into her sinuses.
On Friday, Mila received an anesthesia injection and jumped up on to a bench. “Less than a minute after lying down, she slipped off of the waist-high bench, causing a fatal spinal injury,” the release said. “Given the short timeframe from her lying down to her slipping off, it was impossible from a human safety standpoint to stop her tragic fall.”
“She could have slid off from that height a hundred times and landed in a variety of other positions and been unaffected,” said Dr. Eric Klaphake, the zoo head veterinarian, in the release. “The team quickly entered her den when it was safe and diligently tried for 40 minutes to give her life-saving care.”
Mila is the second female Amur tiger to pass away at CMZoo in recent years. In 2021, Savelii died due to complications during recovery from an artificial insemination procedure.
Amur tigers are critically endangered in the wild with only around 500 roaming native habitats, the zoo said. Amur tigers in human care, at zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the U.S. and Canada, hovers near 100. CMZoo has made a long-term commitment to support tigers in their natural habitat.
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