It’s hard to say goodbye to an animal that you’ve cared for for more than two decades, but it’s a little easier when you know it’s the right time to do so.
Over the last 2 months, our male white tiger Akere’s health deteriorated significantly. A recent exam revealed that he had non-treatable oral cancer. 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.
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 arrived in Cincinnati from Nashville in November 1996 at 9 months of age. He was a great ambassador for his species and spent his life educating and inspiring Zoo visitors. 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 companionship. She let him know she was the boss and always got the prime sleeping spot.
He passed surrounded by the people who loved and cared for him. He will be missed.
55 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to a Rare Tiger”
RIP Akere. You have been a beautiful and wonderful example of your species. You will be missed by many that have cared for you and loved you over the years.
Rest Peacefully Akere <3 Thank you to his family for taking such good care of him.
Rest In Peace. May you now be without pain
My condolences to all of you who take care of these beautiful animals. RIP sweet boy.
What a Beautiful Guy! RIP Akere you will be missed..
What a regal animal
RIP Akere Your place in the world will never be taken.
Thank you for taking such wonderful care of Akers. Such a beautiful tiger…take good care of Popsy…
So very sorry for your loss, we too just lost our Ozzy Puppy Dog last night. Ozzy was our rescue puppy and he was only with us for about ten years but he was very much a family member. They are now without pain and suffering but our pain and suffering is just beginning because they are no longer with us. Our lives have been made better because God blessed us with Ozzy and Akere.
Patricia, you have my sympathy, so sorry for your loss.
Akere…he lived a long wonderful life because he was so happy in the caring hands of the Cincinnati Zoo Staff ..God Bless you all.. and Merry Christmas with a Happy New Year!!
So sorry for those loss of this majestic boy. Rip sweet boy.
I am so sorry for the loss of Akere!! RIP handsome Akere and may you run, chase, hunt, and be without pain! Thank you to his caregivers, may you find comfort knowing you provided him with the best and let him go with dignity when it was time. Run hard, run free Akere!
Rest In Peace. Such a beautiful soul
God bless you all for taking such good care. Rest easy sweet boy!
I’m very sad for your loss I love the animals at my Zoo and the people that take care of the animals God Bless You.
Can you explain the reasoning for discontinuing the breeding program for the white tigers?
The very very short answer to this is that all white tigers are somehow related, so continuing to breed them was found to cause major birth defects and complications.
White tigers are inbred. Meaning the are siblings or related somehow.
They don’t exist naturally in the wild, so the ‘white’ genetics need to be thoroughly inbred to continue. This is inethical and takes resources away from species that the public can relate to in natural habitats around the world.
Very sad. Thank you care staff for taking such great care of this beautiful tiger. I am sure you will miss him. RIP Akere.
We will miss Akere. RIP. Hate to lose them, but good to choose well the time to let them go.
Akere was an amazing animal, so beautiful, so large.. He will be missed at the zoo. I lived in the area when he came to your care and I remember seeing him outside in the enclosure. RIP
I can’t even imagine how hard it was to letb a creature of such magic go all I can say is that he is healths now and watching overt the entire zoo!! God bless!!!
Such a beautiful and handsome tiger. So sorry for your loss and condolences to the staff at The Cincinnati Zoo. Thank you for giving him a long and happy life.
Such a beautiful animal. RIP.
As he has traveled over the rainbow… That sweet Tiger is at peace and home with his family and friends! Although you will miss him know he’s in a happier place free of pain! ❤️❤️
God Bless the wonderful and loving Staff at the Cincinnati Zoo. RIP AKERE. He will be missed but is pain free now, and I am sure watching over all the other great animals at Cincinnati Zoo. I am 82 and do not travel that far, and appreciate all you show on your web site. Thanks again to the great zookeeper. CAROLE J. Axdorff
It’s a difficult time for our Zoo and his caregivers. Sending prayers your way, and hope that all the fond memories will help you through this time. God bless him. And thank you for sharing this, and for all you did for him.
Rest in peace beautiful one. My condolences to the Zoo and to Popsy. I know he will be missed. My heartfelt appreciation to the Zoo for all the excellent care and the love shown to all the wonderful animals. Blessings to all.
Fly free sweet boy.
RIP sweet boy!! xoxo
Did he sire any cubs in the 20 years at the zoo?
today the rainbow bridge was black and white
That’s beautiful. Thank you. ❤
My sincere condolences to Mike and to the Cincinnati Zoo family. Akere was a beautiful creature ~ thank you for giving him the best care during his time at the zoo. He was certainly a lucky guy.
Sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of his personality.
It’s always difficult to take charge of whats best for an animal .Great job you guys ! Keep doing what you’re doing !
I am so sorry for your loss.
So difficult to have a loved animal pass. His spot in the enclosure will seem very empty to his care team.
Will there be another companion for the female?
My condolences to the wonderful people who gave Akere a rich life filled with love and care.
So sorry for your loss of Akere. What a blessing that you loved him and cared for him for 21 years. My most sincere condolences at this time.
How wonderful the Care team, and all Cincinnati zoo visitors were able to see and care for him. RIP Akere, and maybe you may see Henry, (the hippo) who passed away a month ago, and reunite with the other animals who have crossed the bridge too.
I am so very sorry to all of you who took care of and loved Akere. He was a beautiful tiger, who must have had wonderful care because of his long life. Rest in peace sweet boy may you now run pain free.
So sorry for all who cared for and loved him. You all are awesome. Remember that during this tough time.
What a shame that a rare tiger will pass away in our lives/ RIP..may your future home with the LORD will be a great experience as his animals in the kingdom… Plsms 23
What a shame that a rare tiger will pass away in our lives/ RIP..may your future home with the LORD will be a great experience as his animals in the kingdom… Plsms 23 Peace~~!!!
May you make the Angels as happy as you made us. Thank you for you. May you occasionally whisper in Popsy’s ear and continue to give a gentle chuff to your keepers. You will be missed.
My condolences to the team of caregivers. Cincinnati Zoo has certainly had a tough year of losses. You all are so wonderful. Every visit there, I see amazing work going on to care for the animals and educate the public.
Thank you so much!
My heart goes out to Akere’s keepers today. Thank you for taking such wonderful care of this beautiful tiger. He will be missed by my family.