The cage where 12-year-old Asia lived is empty now. The Bengal Tiger spent nearly her entire life at Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley. Test results showed that Asia died of an irregular heartbeat.
“It’s a nice sense of closure to know why she died and we were at least satisfied to know that it was not something that we would have been able to prevent. Asia was very loved by the staff. She was a very friendly cat so everyone was pretty upset to see her die,” Interim Zoo Director, Marc Heinzman says.
She was the zoo's only tiger and now they are looking to replace her in the near future.
“We try to keep this very consistent here as far as the quality of visit we have here at the zoo.”
Public perception is vital for any zoo. With the recent death of Asia and the departure of the zoo director, Niabi Zoo knows the next 6 months are critical.
“It’s important that the community have faith in the work that we are doing here, that they acknowledge the value that this facility has and they continue to come to the zoo.”
The zoo had a record year for attendance last year followed by their best opening month ever in March.
The zoo hopes to have a full-time zoo director in by June. And though more change is sure to come, their goal is for Niabi Zoo to remain a source of pride in the Quad Cities.