|Tasmin following her operation in 2011|
It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of our most loved animals. Tasmin, one of our Amur Tigers, was put to sleep on Wednesday 3rd December following veterinary advice.
Born at Blackpool Zoo in January 1996 and arriving at Dartmoor Zoo in the summer of the same year, Tasmin was one of the two oldest Amur Tigers in the UK, along with her brother, Turlough who lives at Longleat Safari Park.
Despite her age she enjoyed very good health, surviving a major operation to correct an embedded claw in 2011, an injury which she would not have survived in the wild.
However, her health declined recently and vets called to the zoo diagnosed a severe abdominal condition. Unfortunately, given her age, another major operation was not advised.
“Her condition was severe, and it was clear that we had to act in her immediate best interests,” explains zoo director, Benjamin Mee. “However, we had to weigh her current welfare against the expected quality of life should she survive a major operation. Sadly, it was clear that an operation really wasn’t an option.”
Known for her aggressive demeanour, Tasmin was well loved by staff and visitors alike. During her time at Dartmoor Zoo, Tasmin gave birth to three cubs which have since joined breeding programmes in the Netherlands and Asia.
The news is particularly hard since it comes so soon after the recent loss of Blotch, another Amur Tiger, and niece to Tasmin, who was diagnosed with cancer in July this year.
However our ongoing conservation mission received a boost recently when the zoo was accepted into several international breeding programmes for big cats.
“We have a fantastic facility here for big cats,” says Mee. “Many zoos are jealous of the enclosures and the opportunities they present for important conservation work. This is now officially recognised by the bodies that manage the breeding programmes and plans are already underway for the introduction of a number of cat species to Dartmoor.”
“Our aspirations for the future are unashamedly ambitions,” says Mee. “As a charity, Dartmoor Zoo will become a centre of excellence for conservation, education and research and our involvement with big cat breeding programmes is central to that mission.”