"I will miss him greatly," said zookeeper Annie Marcum, who worked with the animal since he was five months old
Sivaki, a 16-year-old geriatric Amur Tiger dies
Credit: Potter Park Zoo

A Michigan zoo is saying goodbye to one of their own.

Earlier this week, Sivaki — a 16-year-old geriatric Amur Tiger — was humanely euthanized at the Potter Park Zoo due to a decline in the animal's health caused by an age-related spinal disease, according to a statement from the facility.

Staff at the Lansing-based zoo noticed that the animal was unwilling to move around his habitat before being diagnosed with the health issue as the cause of his discomfort.

"Treatment to address his spinal disease was initiated, but his condition worsened quickly, and it was determined euthanasia was the humane decision," Dr. Ronan Eustace, Potter Park Zoo's director of animal health, said in the statement.

Sivaki was born at Potter Park Zoo and fathered three tiger cubs during his time with the zoo, the statement added. The cubs, along with their mother, were sent to other zoos over the years.

Sivaki, a 16-year-old geriatric Amur Tiger dies
Credit: Potter Park Zoo

The Amur tiger is one of the largest cats in the world and they are critically endangered, according to Conserve Wildcats.

The website notes that around 500 to 550 of the big cats live in Russia, with a small number also found across the border in China and potentially in North Korea.

"This is a very challenging time for everyone," Amy Morris-Hall, executive director of the Potter Park Zoological Society, told the Lansing State Journal. "Sivaki will be missed."

In the zoo's statement, zookeeper Annie Marcum, who worked with Sivaki since he was five months old, also reflected on her time spent over the years with the big cat.

"Training Sivaki and his sisters showed me the huge impact zookeepers can have on the welfare of the animals we care for, and I will always be grateful for that," Marcum said. "It was lessons learned from him that led me on my path to join the ongoing effort of our institution to strive for exceptional welfare and conservation of their wild spaces. I will miss him greatly."