Tiger dies at zoo in Iowa

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A popular Siberian tiger died at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa.

Zoo officials said the 15-year-old male tiger named “Kavacha” died of heart failure after a brief illness.

Kavacha was an Amur tiger, which the zoo describes as “the largest of the great cats.”  He was born October 7, 1998 at the Indianapolis Zoo, and moved to Blank Park Zoo in June of 2001.

Male Amur tigers in captivity have a life expectancy between 16 to 25 years.

“Kavacha was a great ambassador of a species that will likely go extinct in the wild without major conservation effort,” said Mark Vukovich, Blank Park Zoo CEO. “He will always be remembered for the thrill he gave many of his fans when he would walk up to the exhibit window and jump up and rub his paws on it.”

Zoo officials planned to work to have another tiger placed at the Blank Park Zoo to accompany Goldy, their remaining female tiger.

Asia, a 12-year-old Bengal tiger, suffered an irregular heartbeat and died at Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley in 2012.