COLORADO SPRINGS — The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is mourning the loss of one of its tigers.
The zoo said its 9-year-old female tiger, Savelii died last Thursday due to complications from an artificial insemination procedure.
The zoo turned to this procedure after efforts to get Savelli to breed with male tiger Chewy failed. According to the zoo, tiger breeding is extremely dangerous and difficult in captivity. It is however necessary, as there are only about 500 tigers remaining in the wild and around 100 in captivity.
The zoo said that due to the global importance of this procedure, seven veterinarians were on hand for the procedure, as well as reproductive biologists, and representatives from three AZA-accredited zoos and one university.
In Savelii's memory, the zoo has launched a community challenge. It will match each dollar donated up to $34,000. All of the money will go directly to tiger conservation.
Donations can be made at cmzoo.org/tiger