Lana the Tiger Dies at Lake Superior Zoo

Lana lived at Lake Superior Zoo since 2015.

DULUTH, Minn.-Lake Superior Zoo’s tiger Lana has died.

She was 15-years-old and was diagnosed with liver disease last September.

Below is a statement from the Zoo on Lana’s passing:

It is with heavy hearts that we share the sad news that Lana, our 15-year-old Amur tiger, has passed away.

Lana was diagnosed with liver disease this past September and was being treated for this with medication and repeated blood work testing 30 days later. She showed a positive reaction to the treatment and signs of improvement; however, over time we noticed a change in her behavior and decreased appetite.

Yesterday, keepers noticed Lana was extremely lethargic and did not eat her morning diet. She also showed no interest in coming into holding to see the keeper staff which just wasn’t Lana. It was at that time that our vet staff was called in and drew blood with results that unfortunately showed her liver values had doubled in a month. It was at this time that our animal care and vet staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her due to her diminished quality of life.

Lana was born at the Minnesota Zoo in May of 2004 and hand-raised with her sister after their mother rejected them. One of our keepers, Jackie Fallon, was a part of this effort as she worked at the MN Zoo at the time. After living at the Riverside Discovery Center, Lana arrived in Duluth in November 2015 and has been one of our most beloved animals ever since.

She was a charismatic animal who bravely represented her species and brought awareness to the threats Amur tigers face in the wild. The entire Zoo family will remember and deeply miss Lana, especially the keepers who have cared for her and know her best.

The 270 pound Amur tiger has been living at the zoo since 2015, but her stay came to an end when she fell ill to cholangiohepatitis, which means infection and inflammation in the bile ducts and in the liver.

Vets at the zoo medicated Lana immediately.

For two months, she was back to her lively self.

“Above all, I want to commend my staff for all of their efforts to make sure that Lana’s quality of life throughout the last two months was maintained at the highest possible level,” director of animal management Dave Thompson said.

Zoo staff put Lana down Wednesday afternoon.

“The reality is, none of us get off the planet alive, including our beloved pets or our beloved zoo animals, so there does come a point where it is necessary to alleviate the suffering because animals don’t understand their disease, animals don’t have hope, all they know is that they hurt,” zoo veterinarian Dr. Louise Beyea said.

The plan is to bring more Amur tigers to the zoo to fill Lana’s exhibit in the coming months, but no cat could ever replace their animated feline.

“Lana will be missed. But also for me, will be remembered as the big kitty who touched the heart of visitors and staff alike. We will remember her always,” Thompson said.

Lana’s body was moved to the University of Minnesota for further testing on what may have led to her disease.

Lake Superior Zoo will know more on her passing within the month.

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