Minnesota Zoo's oldest tiger, Molniy, dies at 16

Photo of Molniy via Minnesota Zoo photographer John Oakes

The Minnesota Zoo has announced the death of its oldest tiger, a 16-year-old Amur tiger named Molniy. At 16, he surpassed the estimated longevity for a wild tiger of 12-15 years, and was considered an "elder statesman" of the tiger population. Molniy was being treated for a variety of age-related conditions at the zoo, including arthritis.

“Molniy was a favorite among his zookeepers,” said Northern Trail Curator, Diana Weinhardt. “He will be greatly missed by all the staff who worked with him in the 14 years he was here.”

Molniy came to the Minnesota Zoo in 2002 from the Detroit Zoo. The zoo currently cares for 3 other tigers: Sundari (Molniy’s offspring) and Patrice, who are both 4 years old, and 6-year-old Putin.

The Amur tiger is the largest of all cats and one of 6 remaining tiger subspecies. Conservation efforts are ongoing to help protect these endangered tigers from poachers and habitat destruction.