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DSCN2799 (1)Niki, a 19-year-old Armur tiger living at the Racine Zoo, has died, according to officials with the Racine Zoological Society.

Armur tigers, which are mainly found in Russia, are considered to be critically endangered as there are only an estimated 350 to 400 left in the wild.

One of the oldest tigers living under human care in the country, Niki was considered geriatric and was receiving extra veterinary care by Racine Zoo staff. A few weeks ago, staff noticed that Niki had lost her appetite and was exhibiting atypical behaviors. Her health took a turn for the worse on Sunday morning.

“This is a very difficult time for our zoo family as we mourn the loss of Niki, a beloved animal and dear friend to our staff, members, and community,” said Beth Heidorn, executive director for the Racine Zoo. “Niki lived a long, healthful life here at the Zoo under the care of dedicated keepers and staff. We will all miss her greatly.”

An animal autopsy is expected to be performed on Niki and the findings will be released in a few weeks.

Born at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City Kansas in 1995, Niki was moved to the Toledo Zoo in 1997 and then came to the Racine Zoo in 2001. The Racine Zoo plans to host an International Tiger Day on July 18 to raise awareness of conservation initiatives focused on saving the Amur tiger.



Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.