Beloved three-legged tiger dies at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

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OMAHA, Neb. (Press Release) - Mai, the well-known three-legged tiger at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, has passed away.

Mai, a 20-year-old, female Malayan tiger, who had been under veterinary care for renal disease over the last year, was humanely euthanized this morning due to declining health. Animal Care Staff complete a quality of life assessment before deciding to euthanize an animal.

Mai had been fed a special diet developed by our Comparative Nutrition Department to help reduce the effects of renal disease. Animal Care Staff also monitored her daily activity.

“In addition to dealing with advancing renal disease, this cat recently started to exhibit signs of dementia, indicating that her condition was starting to deteriorate,” said Dr. Julie Napier, the Zoo’s senior veterinarian.

“During her time at the Zoo, despite only having three legs, she successfully raised three litters of cubs, making a great contribution to this endangered population.”

A necropsy was performed and tissues will be sent out for histopathology to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

Mai came to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in 2003 and was on display in the Cat Complex. She was missing one of her front legs due to an amputation before she arrived at the Zoo and was a favorite among visitors. Mai was an excellent mom and had a total of eight cubs from three liters in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Malayan tigers can live in human care up to 20 years. Malayan tigers are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat destruction and poaching. There are an estimated 250-340
Malayan tigers left in the wild.

In celebration of Mai, the public can symbolically adopt a Malayan tiger on the Omaha Zoo Foundation’s
website.

The proceeds from this month’s adoptions will go directly to the
Zoo’s tiger conservation and research efforts.