Wellington Zoo euthanises oldest Sumatran tiger

  • 17/11/2016
Rokan the Sumatran tiger (Wellington Zoo / Facebook)
Rokan the Sumatran tiger (Wellington Zoo / Facebook)

One of Wellington Zoo's three Sumatran tigers has been put down after struggling with the effects of old age.

Twenty-year-old male Rokan was euthanised on Thursday, the zoo says.

The zoo had been monitoring the cat's health for a number of years and it was being given pain relief and anti-inflammatories for arthritis.

"Close observations over the last month showed that he was no longer able to move comfortably and easily," said the zoo's Mauritz Basson.

"The welfare of our animals is paramount, and the observations showed we were no longer able to sustain his quality of life, so the decision to euthanise Rokan was made today."

Rokan was born at the zoo and was described as "a bit of a charmer with the female tigers".

"Like lots of cats, he could be sneaky and playful - but he also had a relaxed side," said carnivore team leader Paul Horton.

Rokan was the oldest of the zoo's three tigers, leaving behind Bashii, a male, and Senja, a female, which the zoo hopes to breed.

There are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.