Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: March 9, 2021 9:00 pm
Savelii the Amur tiger prior to her passing at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have announced the passing of their 9 year old Amur tiger, Savelii during an artificial insemination procedure which aimed to boost numbers of this endangered species.
Keepers had turned to an artificial insemination procedure after months of attempting to bring Savelii and her mate Chewy in to a natural breeding situation. Unfortunately these interactions between tigers are often aggressive and ultimately failed.
With just 100 tigers in human care at zoos accredited by Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the U.S. and Canada and 500 in the wild it was decided the risk of artificial insemination was worthwhile.
On Thursday afternoon vets undertook the artificial insemination procedure. A team of seven veterinarians were on hand to ensure success. A further team of reproductive biologists, and representatives from three AZA-accredited zoos and one university were also on site.
Unfortunately soon after the conclusion of the procedure Savelii began to crash during her recovery. Despite the efforts of vets to save her life she passed away.
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In a release Cheyenne Mountain Zoo expressed their devastation at the loss. "The loss of Savelii is a tragedy for our staff, for her keepers, and for our community," said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo President and CEO, Bob Chastain.
Despite the tragedy the procedure was still seen as important as it continued research in to the reproductive biology of tigers.
Breeding of tigers is rare in AZA managed zoos in North America. Three tiger subspecies are managed by US zoos – the Malayan, Amur and Sumatran. Last year 49 zoos were recommended to breed their tigers and only three were successful. Only two of these survived.
These births led to six tigers being born but eleven passed away from old age meaning the population shrank. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo used this example to explain the importance of trying out new technologies which may help increase the population.
To honor Savelli the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have issued a matched fundraising goal which seeks to raise $34,000. This will be matched with $34,000 from the executive team and board of directors at the zoo. All of the funds will go directly to tiger conservation.
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