Calgary Zoo tiger matriarch dies of old age
With only about 350 Amur tigers in the wild and approximately 500 in captivity, Kita was key in furthering a breeding program due to her genetic profile, the zoo said. She created “a legacy” of 21 descendants — about four per cent of the total captive population.
“Amur tigers are declining and they are managed by a species survival program. Their genetics are matched with all kinds of different tigers throughout North America,” Baird said. “Kita did that. She came from Toronto, bred successfully and had successful offspring.”
Baird said Kita arrived in Calgary from the Toronto Zoo in 1999.
The “feisty feline” quickly endeared herself to zoo keepers and visitors alike, instantly recognizable by her stature and playfulness.
A year after her arrival, Kita and Khasam had five healthy cubs — Marilei, Tsamara, Fedor Eh, and Katja. In 2007, she bore another cub, Vitali, with Lashka.
The zoo said in total, Kita gave the Amur tiger population five cubs, eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren, who have moved across North America and Europe.