Nineteen-year-old Lady Luck, a Siberian, or Amur, tiger from Discovery Wildlife Park had to be put down last week due to problems associated with old age.
Lady had lived at Discovery Wildlife almost her whole life after being rescued from an auction where the person who had purchased here left without taking her home.
Lady then spent four days locked in a crate where she didn’t have enough room to turn around.
She was between one and two years-old at the time and despite her rough start to life it didn’t affect her spirit, said Serena Bos, head zookeeper at Discovery Wildlife Park.
“She was the coolest cat I have ever seen, she never seemed to outgrow that kitten stage and until the last little while you would have never know that she was old,” said Bos.
Even after being given a new home with a large enclosure and a pond, Lady always had difficulty getting back into a crate. So she became one of the only large cats at the park that slept outside at night instead of in an enclosed lock-up area in her enclosure.
After being brought to Discovery Wildlife the zookeepers named her Lady Luck, for being lucky to have escaped a bad situation. However, over the past few years they have taken to calling her Lady Love, said Boss, because she was always so loveable.
While at the park Lady had discovered how to interact with the public, which was special because she was never trained to do so, said Bos.
“Whenever we had a public feeding we would throw her out a roast or a chicken and before she ate she would look at you and then look back at the people, and then roar,” laughed Boss.
“It was like she was laughing and it was funny because she was not serious about it… if it was a larger crowd of say 100-200, then the more noise they made the louder she would roar.”
Bos remembers bringing school groups through the park in the spring when she was shedding and she would rub up against the fence and the students could feel her fur.
The playful animal was active even in her old age.
However, in the about the last two months, zoo staff knew something was wrong when Lady started to go into her lock-up area to sleep at night.
She had been on medication for arthritis but would no longer take her medication and began drinking more then three times her daily amount of water. The increased intake of water is sign which can often mean kidney failure or that her organs were shutting down said Bos.
“We knew it was time to put her down, we didn’t want her to be in any pain,” said Bos.
Lady won’t be forgotten and had in her life inspired a lot of people to do a lot of great things with animals, said Boss.
“She had this light in her eyes, like little stars, that I swear I have never seen in any other cats eyes.”