Emerson the Sumatran tiger passes away at Zoo Atlanta

- Emerson, a 10-year-old male Sumatran tiger has died at Zoo Atlanta. Officials had recently been monitoring Emerson following visible signs of a decline in his health and behavior.

When he did not respond to veterinary treatment, the Veterinary Team performed an emergency diagnostic exam in an effort to determine the cause of his illness, but Emerson did not survive, according to Zoo Atlanta.

“This is a devastating loss for the Zoo Atlanta family, not just of this magnificent individual we were only just beginning to get to know, but for the entire Sumatran tiger population,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “Tigers are now more numerous in zoos than they are in the wild, and it is critical that we preserve their populations. The loss of any individual is very difficult.” 

Born November 24, 2006, at the Sacramento Zoo, Emerson was on loan to Zoo Atlanta from the Jackson Zoo in Mississippi.

Sumatran tigers are among the most critically endangered of all the planet’s remaining tigers. Believed to number fewer than 400 in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the species faces serious pressures from habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, particularly through deforestation for palm oil plantations, black-market poaching for skins and bones, and killing by humans when tigers enter local villages and prey on livestock.

A necropsy will be performed through the Zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Preliminary results should be available in coming weeks.

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