Cincinnati Zoo says farewell to last white tiger, Popsy


Popsy, the last white tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, was euthanized Thursday due to age-related health issues.

The zoo announced the death of the 22-year-old “Queen of Cat Canyon” on its website and social media.

Popsy was the oldest tiger of her kind in any accredited North American zoo. The rare white tiger is not an albino, rather, the striking white coat with black stripes and icy blue eyes are an expression of recessive genes.

“The animal health staff has been closely monitoring Popsy’s medical condition over the past several months,” said Dr. Mark Campbell, Director of Animal Health at the zoo. “As a geriatric tiger she had several health issues we were managing and treating. The animal health and care staff collaboratively concluded that we were unable to continue to maintain her good quality of life.”

Popsy arrived in Cincinnati from Nashville in June 1996. She and her sister Erica were named after the late Erich Kunzel, conductor of the Cincinnati Pops orchestra who was a great supporter of the Cat Ambassador Program. She spent the last 10 years with male companion Akere, who died in December.

White tigers have been at the Cincinnati Zoo since 1974 and have been popular with visitors.

“Popsy was a great animal ambassador for her species for more than two decades and a favorite with our zoo guests,” said Mike Land, Team Lead at Night Hunters and one of Popsy’s caregivers. “For the last 12 years she was the “Queen of Cat Canyon” and she let the other tigers know it. Her presence will be greatly missed.”

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