Staff at the Magnetic Hill Zoo are mourning the sudden death of Anya, a nine-year-old Amur tiger, during a routine medical procedure Wednesday.
"It's been a very, very sad day for everyone involved," said zoo director Jill Marvin. "Everyone has been grieving since yesterday."
Marvin said Anya was sedated to allow the veterinarian team to check her body condition, take some blood, give her any vaccines she needed.
"She did not wake up from the sedation," "We honestly are not completely sure what did happen."
A necropsy will be done to determine the exact cause of death.
Marvin said the tiger was a great ambassador for the zoo and for her species. Visitors were able to see her and Alik, the male Amur tiger at the zoo. Both arrived in 2013.
Where Alik has an outgoing character, and Anya stayed back and watched, Marvin said.
"She liked to hide in the weeds and sometimes she would surprise people — she loved to jump up on that truck and surprise people."
The tiger couple had two litters of cubs. Anya had four cubs were born in 2018. One died nine days after birth and the other three are at a zoo in Ontario called Safari Niagara.
"When she had her cubs she continued to impress us with her skills of motherhood, from when they were born, from moving the tiny little cubs, to the trust she had in her keeper."
Marvin said staff will keep a close watch on Alik, who will likely sense something different. She added that male Amur tigers are known to be loners.
Amur tigers are an endangered species, and fewer than 400 are left in the world. They hail from northeast Russia and can live 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.