The National Zoo put down 19-year-old Sumatran tiger Soyono this morning, after the tiger fought a month-long battle with spinal degeneration. While much of the zoo’s announcement is a nice remembrance of the tiger, one part, about Soyono’s contribution to her struggling species, stands out:
Because her mother was wild-caught, Soy’s genes were not well-represented in the North American population, making her a valuable breeder…Soy birthed three litters of cubs and with her mate, Rokan, produced seven offspring altogether.
Left unspoken: Soyono’s record stands in sharp contrast to certain other “clueless breeders” the zoo could mention.
The zoo still has two Sumatran tigers on display.
Photo by Jon McRay, courtesy National Zoo