Farewelling Kemiri, Australia’s oldest Sumatran Tiger

Adelaide Zoo is sad to announce the passing of Kemiri, Australia’s oldest Sumatran Tiger.

The difficult decision was made to humanely put Kemiri to sleep on Wednesday, 28 June, as she had a number of age-related conditions which were affecting her quality of life.

Zoos SA Senior Veterinarian Dr Ian Smith said Kemiri was being treated for arthritis and kidney issues associated with her advanced age.

“The average life expectancy for Sumatran Tigers in the wild is about 12 years and in captivity about 20 years, so to reach 22 is really positive,” Dr Smith said.

“For a number of months, Kemiri had been suffering from a number of age-related conditions which the veterinary team had been treating, but over the past week her condition deteriorated.

“The veterinary team decided that further medical treatment would not improve Kemiri’s quality of life.

“The difficult decision was made to humanely euthanise her, and although this is a sad loss for Adelaide Zoo, it was the best thing to do for Kemiri.

“Her long life is a true testament to the care provided by our dedicated zoo staff over the years.”

Kemiri called Adelaide Zoo home for 21 years and was a much-loved favourite amongst staff, volunteers and visitors, many of who met her during behind the scenes tours.

“Every day was a pleasure to work with Kemiri,” Carnivore Keeper Matt Daly said.

“She would greet her keepers in the morning with an affectionate chuff and lean in for scratches.

“Kemiri’s biggest quirk was that she hated chicken, even a bucket that just had chicken in it before her normal red meat feed, she would turn her nose up at.

“We were so lucky to have Kemiri with us for so long; she was playful and interactive with keepers throughout her years here at Adelaide Zoo and will be fondly remember.”

Kemiri was born at Taronga Zoo in 1994 and moved to Adelaide Zoo in 1995. She was the oldest of three Sumatran Tigers at Adelaide Zoo.

Sadly, wild tiger populations are at an all-time low, with less than 400 Sumatran Tigers estimated to be left in the wild.


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