November 22, 2022

In Memory of Yuri

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our 12-year-old Amur tiger, Yuri. Yuri came from the Bronx Zoo to Denver Zoo in 2019 at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Over the last three years, our Animal Care and Veterinary Medicine teams treated Yuri for a number of chronic health conditions including liver and neurological diseases.  

In October, Yuri's health declined significantly, and a recent exam revealed he was experiencing anemia, dehydration, and systemic inflammation. Given this decline in addition to his chronically managed health conditions, Yuri's care team was concerned about his prognosis and quality of life and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him and prevent any further suffering. 

This loss, like any, has been hard on our entire staff—and particularly those who cared for him over the years. We'd like to share with you what they loved most about Yuri in their own words: 

“Yuri was one of the most magnificent animals I ever worked with. His paws were like dinner plates, and his teeth were 4” daggers, but his sweet chuff was enough to melt your heart."  

"He loved his rocker, snack shack, and scent enrichment. Even if we hid food inside his rocker, he’d immediately dump it so that he could carry it around. He was a giant goofball that taught me how important it was to earn an animal’s trust and then maintain that trust through simple training sessions." 

"Yuri was a giant goofy cat. He loved to rest in the sun whenever it was out. He was known for having his tongue sticking out at any given moment, especially when he was sleeping. He loved playing with his favorite toys like his rocker, snack shack, and barrels. He would always walk with keepers along his habitat barrier, chuffing the whole way."  

"Yuri was a goofy boy.  He loved flopping over on top of his small pine trees (making it hard to grow new trees in his habitat), and carrying his favorite toys around. Above all, I have personally seen him overcome obstacle after obstacle.  He was incredibly resilient, and had an impressive capacity to learn." 

"He was a fighter for sure – he pulled through more than any other animal I’ve seen." 

Yuri will be missed by all.   

Yuri Tiger Birthday


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