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Indianapolis Zoo mourns death of 4-month-old Amur tiger cub

The zoo said Roman was born in May with a congenital defect that was repaired with surgery, but his health continued to decline.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo is mourning the death of a 4-month-old tiger. 

The zoo announced Wednesday that Roman, one of three Amur tigers born at the facility in May, has died. The cub was born with a congenital defect that caused health concerns and while surgery was performed to correct the defect, his condition continued to decline.

"Our veterinary team worked tirelessly to try and save him, but his medical challenges were too significant," the zoo said in a Facebook post. "Roman had a great personality and liked to wrestle around with his brother and sister."

Roman and his siblings, Nicolas and Helina, were born May 27 to 7-year-old Zoya. Two of the cubs were born via cesarean section. While Nicolas was named for one of the veterinary surgeons who assisted in the cubs' birth, Roman and Helina were named by the public in a contest the zoo held in July.

We are heartbroken to share that tiger cub Roman has died. He was born with a congenital defect that caused numerous...

Posted by Indianapolis Zoo on Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Helina made her public debut on Sept. 16, with the male cubs coming out a couple days later.

Cute Alert! Our female Amur tiger cub Helina made her grand debut today! She was very curious about her new surroundings and made sure to climb, sniff and explore her new habitat. ❤️

Posted by Indianapolis Zoo on Friday, September 16, 2022

The zoo said earlier this summer the cubs will likely never be introduced to or in the same space as their mother because tigers are solitary by nature, and Zoya is not raising them.

According to the zoo, the Amur tiger cubs' birth was extremely important, as there are fewer than 100 Amur tigers in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo said Amur tigers in the wild have lost almost 95% of their territories.

(NOTE: The video in the player above is from a September 2022 story when the tigers were scheduled to make their public debut.)


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