Norfolk, VA – Virginia Zoo staff and volunteers are mourning the death of Siberian tiger, Shaka Khan, who lost her fight with malignant bone cancer over the weekend. Shaka was 18 years old.
In May 2010, the Zoo sadly announced the death of Shaka’s sister, Shere, from an aggressive form of skin cancer and also at that time reported that Shaka had been diagnosed with bone cancer. In recent weeks, staff observed the tumor on Shaka’s leg was growing significantly while she also was losing weight. She passed away Friday in her exhibit home.
“Although we knew this was inevitable,” says Zoo executive director Greg Bockheim, “our Zoo family is grief stricken. The keeper staff has cared for both of these amazing animals since they were cubs, and for all of us, this is like losing a beloved family member.”
At 18, Shaka was considered an elderly tiger – the average lifespan in captivity is between 15 to 20 years.