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Columbus Zoo euthanizes tiger following battle with acute leukemia

Irisa came to Columbus from the Louisville Zoo in 2006. She was 15 years old.
Irisa (Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced one of their female Amur tigers was euthanized Wednesday morning.

According to the zoo, the staff made the decision to humanely euthanize Irisa due to her declining health after receiving long-term care for acute leukemia.

The zoo said it was revealed she had an extremely low white blood cell count during a routine exam in Jan. 2019.

"Following this result, another exam and extensive testing were performed to determine the cause of the abnormal bloodwork. A bone marrow aspirate collected during this time confirmed the diagnosis of acute leukemia. Although medical management protocols exist for treating leukemia in animals, they have side effects that require close monitoring, and often delay but do not prevent the progression of the disease. The decision was made to provide Irisa with the opportunity to continue her normal routine under the watchful eyes of her caregivers for as long as she was comfortable."

Irisa came to the zoo from the Louisville Zoo in 2006. She was 15 years old.

The staff said Irisa was "feisty, a great mom, and not easily won over—which made it even more meaningful to them that they formed such a special bond with her."