BOSTON (CBS) — A 14-year-old white tiger named Luther at the Franklin Park Zoo has died.
The zoo said in a statement that the tiger was recently diagnosed with cancer and stopped responding to treatment a few days ago, causing his health to decline quickly. In response, zoo staff decided to euthanize him on Thursday.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news about Luther, who will be greatly missed,” said John Linehan, Franklin Park Zoo president and CEO. “Luther was an incredible cat with an important story to share about the myths surrounding white tigers, as well as the illegal wildlife trafficking trade.”
Linehan said white tigers, which are purposely bred for their coloration, often have many health issues due to inbreeding.
“We were fortunate that Luther was a healthy cat up until very recently,” Linehan said.
Though Luther was not bred at the zoo, he had lived there since 2006. The “Tiger Tales” exhibit he was a part of was the first tiger exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in 30 years.
Zookeepers said Luther loved tearing apart cardboard boxes, playing with pumpkins and rubbing against a log sprinkled with ground cloves, his favorite scent.