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Franklin Park Zoo mourns the loss of Luther the tiger

LutherThe staff at Franklin Park Zoo is saddened to report that Luther, a 14-year-old tiger died today.

Luther was recently diagnosed with cancer, described as an undifferentiated round cell tumor, and was being closely monitored and treated. In recent days, Luther stopped responding to medication and his health steeply declined. Due to these recent changes, the zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him.

“We are deeply saddened to share the news about Luther, who will be greatly missed,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “Luther was an incredible cat with an important story to share about the myths surrounding white tigers, as well as the illegal wildlife trafficking trade. White tigers, which are purposely bred for their coloration, are prone to a number of health issues due to inbreeding. We were fortunate that Luther was a healthy cat up until very recently.”

When the Tiger Tales exhibit opened in 2006, it marked the first time that tigers had been exhibited at Franklin Park Zoo in 30 years. Luther, a white tiger, and Anala, a Bengal mix who still lives at Franklin Park Zoo, were both confiscated as young cubs by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents. The agents posed as private sector buyers and were able to purchase the pair from the wildlife sanctuary where they were living. Franklin Park Zoo was happy to provide a home for these tigers and through their story educate the public about illegal wildlife trafficking.

Zookeepers have many fond memories of Luther through the years. When he was younger, he enjoyed tearing apart cardboard boxes and playing with seasonal enrichment on exhibit, especially pumpkins. As he got older, one of his favorite things to do was to rub against a log sprinkled with his favorite scent – ground cloves.