New Orleans,
16:30 PM

King Zulu, Audubon Zoo's Beloved White Tiger, Dies at 20

Aging white tiger received hospice-style treatment from animal care staff and veterinarians

Audubon Nature Institute is deeply saddened to announce that King Zulu, the 20-year-old male white tiger at Audubon Zoo, experienced a steep decline in health and the difficult decision was made by animal care staff and veterinarians to humanely euthanize the tiger this morning. 

King Zulu had been receiving hospice-style treatment to help maintain his quality of life. 

Born at the Nashville Zoo in 1996, the beloved tiger had been part of the Audubon family since 1999. Bengal tigers in the wild live for approximately 10 to 15 years while tigers in human care usually live between 16 to 20 years.

“King Zulu was a personable cat and really loved interacting with staff and guests alike - his caretakers were all very close to him,” said Joe Forys, Audubon Zoo’s Curator of Large Mammals. “He greeted everyone with a chuff (tiger purr) every time he saw you and we will never forget him.”

Forys added, “He loved spending time in his habitat. In his younger years, he loved swimming in the moat, especially in the summer. He loved to try and tackle the giant ‘boomer’ ball in the water and everyone enjoyed seeing him splashing around. He was a wonderful ambassador for tigers everywhere.”

If the public would like to share any memories or thoughts with the Audubon Zoo staff during this difficult time, please leave a note in the comments section below. Thank you for your support.

Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.