Highlands & Islands

Amur tiger Sasha put down at Highland Wildlife Park

A park's Amur tiger has been put down after her health started to fail and she began exhibiting "odd behaviour", her keepers have said.

Sasha had three cubs at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig, in 2009 and shared an enclosure with the litter's two females.

Her long-time mate Yuri was put down in 2010.

On the park's Facebook page, staff said the tiger was painlessly put to sleep on Tuesday morning.

The Facebook post said: "Keepers had recently begun to notice odd changes in Sasha's behaviour, combined with an inability to compete with her three year old daughters.

"Originally thought to be due to old age, as Amur tigers in the wild seldom make it past 12 years old, it became clear over recent weeks that her health and wellbeing was starting to deteriorate.

"Sadly, the continuing changes in the social hierarchy of our Amur tiger group and other recent observations, strongly indicated probable health or senility issues with Sasha."

Amur tigers are the world's largest cat.

Research published in 2009 suggested there was an effective wild population of fewer than 35 individuals.

Although up to 500 of the big cats actually survive in the wild, the effective population is a measure of their genetic diversity.

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