11/19/2012 02:59 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2012

Soyono, Ailing Sumatran Tiger, Euthanized At National Zoo

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WASHINGTON -- Soyono, a 19-year old female Sumatran tiger at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, was euthanized Monday morning. The critically endangered cat produced seven offspring in her time at the zoo.

The rare tiger had shown signs of aging common among geriatric mammals, according to the zoo, which reported that the tiger was walking slower and having trouble balancing. She was treated for spondylosis, a degenerative disorder of the spine that can create abnormal pressure on the nerves. National Zoo staff made the decision to euthanize the tiger when her health continued to decline.

Born in the summer of 1993, Soyono spent the duration of her life at the National Zoo. Her cubs, born in 2001, 2004 and 2006, were transported to other zoos around the world for breeding, research and to act as ambassadors for their species.

The average lifespan for a Sumatran tiger is 15 years, with some cats living into their late teens and early 20s with the aid of zoo staff.

Two Sumatran tigers remain in the National Zoo's Great Cats exhibit, a female named Damai and a male named Kavi.



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