Mourning the Loss of Beloved Tigress
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Mourning the Loss of Beloved Tigress

We are deeply saddened to share the loss of our Sumatran tigress, Ratu. Ratu has been with the Memphis Zoo since 2007 when she was 2 years old. She was beloved by her keepers and won the hearts of every zoo guest. Ratu served as an ambassador for Sumatran tigers teaching the public about the need for protection of her species in the wild.

Anna Chaney, the Assistant Curator of Cat Country, wrote a beautiful memoir for Ratu below. 

"We are heartbroken to share the news that we have had to say goodbye to our beloved Sumatran tigress - Ratu.  One of the oldest residents of Cat Country, she would have been 17 this June. For the past 14 years she has given our visitors the rare chance to see a Sumatran Tiger. With only about 500 of these incredible animals left in the world, we were truly lucky and honored to have her here. The life expectancy of a tiger in the wilds of Sumatra is about 10-12 years.


Unfortunately, as many cats do in their senior years, Ratu suffered from geriatric kidney failure. Her condition began to decline steeply in the past week, and there is no cure or reversing this condition. With heavy hearts, her care team made the extremely difficult decision to humanely euthanize her, yesterday. Additionally, as many humans also do, Ratu had a condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, where her body does not produce the enzymes needed to adequately digest her food. It was a bit of a challenge early on; to figure out exactly how to best treat her condition, but our veterinary and nutrition team worked diligently, and figured out the right dietary and supplementary needs for her. She absolutely blossomed after that.


She was deeply loved by her keepers; as one of those animals that is a challenge and never made things easy. Strong willed and very intelligent she did things her way at all times. She could often be seen lounging in the sun, while laying on the long soft grass of her exhibit, or swimming in the moat on a hot day. Tigers are one of the few cats that enjoy water and she was no exception. As her Malay language name suggests, she was a true queen and will be sincerely missed by all who knew her."

Posted by Jessica Faulk at 2:00 PM