AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - A rare white tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo has died.
Akere, a 21-year-old male white tiger, was recently diagnosed with non-treatable oral cancer, zoo officials wrote in a blog post Thursday.
"He was in renal failure and had severe arthritis in his hips. We provided supportive care and medication to ease his pain, but it was clear that his quality of life was not going to improve," the post reads.
"At almost 22, Akere was the oldest of his kind in any accredited North American Zoo. A tiger's median life expectancy is 15 – 20 years, so we were lucky to spend 21 years with a wonderful tiger."
Akere was just 9 months old when he arrived in Cincinnati from Nashville in November 1996.
"He was a great ambassador for his species and spent his life educating and inspiring Zoo visitors," the post reads.
"He had a great personality, always affectionate with keepers, giving that friendly chuff first thing in the morning. He spent the last ten years with our female Popsy.
"We no longer breed white tigers, so they were paired just for cormpanionship. She let him know she was the boss and always got the prime sleeping spot.
Zoo officials said it's hard to say goodbye to an animal that you've cared for so long, but it's a little easier when you know it's the right thing to do.
"He passed surrounded by the people who loved and cared for him. He will be missed."