The Isle of Wight Zoo has announced the loss of one of their much-loved tigers, Mondo, who died last Thursday (March 18) at the ripe old age of 16.
Mondo arrived at the sanctuary in 2018, one of five tigers who spent years being forced to perform in a Spanish travelling circus. He was the biggest tiger in the zoo and co-habited with his best friend, Girona, having lived together since their circus days.
A spokesman for the Wildheart Trust said: “Mondo was suffering from degenerative musculoskeletal issues affecting his mobility and, ultimately, his quality of life. Despite physiotherapy and pain management, we were unable significantly to relieve his health issues.
“We sedated and x-rayed him to investigate his condition and found serious arthritic changes in his spine and shoulders, which the veterinary team concluded were too severe for us to hope to impact on. The heart-breaking but kindest decision was then taken to pay our respects to Mondo before gently putting him to sleep.
“We will be monitoring Girona closely following the loss of Mondo. Thanks to the configuration of the big cat habitats, we will be able to provide him some company from the female tigers.
“There were countless ‘Mondo moments’ in the short time that we were privileged to host his stay here. But we will never forget the moment that this old boy took his first plunge into the soothing cool waters of his pond when he first arrived from Spain.
“We hoped that, in that moment, he felt something akin to happiness. He was refined and remarkable – we were, and will forever be, in awe of him.”