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The original item was published from 4/8/2021 11:08:00 AM to 5/9/2021 12:00:00 AM.

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City of Idaho Falls News

Posted on: April 8, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Zoo Staff Mourn Passing of Elderly Amur Tiger

Basha-Tiger copy

It is with a heavy heart that Idaho Falls Zoo shares the sad news of the passing of our beloved Amur tiger, Basha. At 18 years old, she was one of the oldest living tigers at any Association of Zoos  and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo. She passed due to complications associated with old age on April 6. The average life span for females of her species is 14.3 years. 

With her advancing age, veterinary and animal care staff had been closely monitoring and evaluating Basha’s health over several years. In recent months, she experienced a significant decline in her health that dramatically accelerated over the last few weeks. When her condition advanced to the point that medical treatment no longer kept her comfortable and pain free, animal care and veterinary teams jointly decided that euthanasia was the most humane option.

Basha was a favorite of zoo guests. She liked pushing her ball around and chasing it down the hill of her exhibit. Chasing wild ducks that dared come into her yard, laying under her favorite lilac bush, and watching everybody from atop her hill were also favorite pastimes. 

“I will miss Basha’s unique charm and independent personality,” says Katie Barry, carnivore keeper and Basha’s lead caregiver. “After years of caring for a magnificent animal like Basha, you form a special bond. In the afternoons, I would take some time and visit Basha who would come to the side of her enclosure to spend time with me. When I would need to leave, she would show her disapproval in ending our time with a rather loud growl.”

Born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo on February 16, 2003, Basha came to the Idaho Falls Zoo May 15, 2012 by recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Amur tigers. SSPs are cooperative population management programs that help ensure the survival of selected species, most of which are threatened or endangered. The Amur tiger is a critically endangered species. The main goal of SSPs is to maintain healthy and genetically diverse populations. Staff are currently working with the SSP to bring a new Amur tiger to the Idaho Falls Zoo in a way that best ensures the future of this amazing species.

Basha was a treasured member of the IF Zoo family and will be remembered fondly. 

Idaho Falls Zoo will be open daily (including holidays) from 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for the 2021 season starting Saturday, April 10. 

Stay informed on the fun at the zoo: follow the Idaho Falls Zoo on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube; subscribe to zoo notices under Notify Me on the City’s website,, and visit the zoo at

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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Bud Cranor at 2108-612-8306 or at [email protected].

About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park:   With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo is known as the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website

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