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Tiger dies at Colorado Springs zoo after procedure

March 8, 2021 GMT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A 9-year-old tiger died last week at a Colorado Springs zoo following an artificial insemination procedure, zoo officials said Monday.

The female tiger named Savelii died Thursday from complications of a procedure that was done in hopes of helping to prevent the population of Amur tigers from dwindling any lower, said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo President Bob Chastain in a statement.

Artificial insemination was chosen instead of natural breeding because mating between tigers can be dangerous and lead to aggressive behavior such as males biting the female’s neck, Chastain said.

Seven veterinarians, reproductive specialists and representatives from other zoos and a university were at the procedure, he said. The procedure was approved by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums under a tiger species survival plan and partially funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Chastain said.

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“The loss of individual animals, especially one as spunky and playful as Savelii, is deeply sad,” Chastain said in the statement. “Savelii will be missed immensely. But our sadness is not only for the loss of a beautiful individual, but also sadness for the loss suffered for the Amur tiger species as a whole.”