The Washington Park Zoo has announced that its male tiger, Stars, had recently been suffering from chronic kidney disease when the zoo decided to euthanize him at the age of 18-years-old.

The zoo says chronic kidney disease is a common cause of illness and death in older feline species including tigers. Stars was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks ago and had been closely monitored and treated with medications to keep him comfortable, but his activity and appetite continued to slow. The zoo says the tough decision to euthanize Stars was necessary based on his extreme medical condition before his quality of life declined any further.

The zoo further stated, “Stars will be greatly missed, as he was a ‘favorite of guests and staff’, and an incredible ambassador for his species. It is always a very emotional time for us with the loss of any animal, but we are happy knowing that Stars shared an important conservation message with thousands of zoo guests as he lived a long full life alongside his brother, Stripes.
We are very proud of our animal care team who work together with other zoological professionals to provide the best welfare, husbandry, and medical care for all the animals who call the Washington Park Zoo home.”

The lifespan of tigers in the wild is usually between 10 and 15 years, according to the zoo. In human care, or on rare occasions in the wild, a tiger can live up to 20 years.
Stars was born at a zoo in Iowa on October 15, 2004, and had been at the Washington Park Zoo with his brother, Stripes since 2005.