Popular tiger Shima dies in Zoo

Popular tiger Shima dies in Zoo

In human terms, Shima lived to 90 years old. This photograph provided by the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni, Zoo & Museum in Okinawa City was taken in April 2011.

March 23, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On the morning of March 22, the male tiger called Shima was found dead in the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni, Zoo & Museum in Okinawa City. Shima was 19 years old, which in human terms is the equivalent of a 90 year-old.

A spokesperson for the zoo said that the tiger died of natural causes. According to zoo staff, Shima had been sick for about a month, and had not eaten for the past week. Keepers waited for Shima’s appetite to recover and made changes to the food that they provided, but he still did not eat it. So in the end, a keeper found Shima dead at around 8:00am on March 22.

Shima was born in May 1993 and came to Okinawa from the Tobe Zoo in Ehime Prefecture in September 1995. The only tiger in the zoo, he has been popular among children, but last year he became increasing ill as he grew old.
Genwa Higa, the director of the zoo, said, “Shima was able to live out his natural life span, but we really did want to celebrate his twentieth birthday.” The zoo will create a skeletal representation of the tiger.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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