Skip to main content

One of the Minnesota Zoo's youngest tigers died unexpectedly

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A female tiger at the Minnesota Zoo died unexpectedly this weekend.

The tiger, Nadya, hadn't been feeling well the week prior to her death, the zoo said in a Facebook post Monday.

Nadya, who was 3 years old, was being monitored by zookeepers and veterinarians around the clock, the post said. When her condition didn't improve, she went into emergency exploratory surgery.

She died shortly after the procedure, despite attempts to revive her.

Before she died, blood tests showed Nadya's liver wasn't working properly, the zoo said in a press release.

Results of a necropsy (the term for an animal autopsy) are still pending, the zoo said.

The zoo said wild tigers have a lifespan of 10-15 years, but didn't note how long the cats are expected to live in captivity.

'She was one of our favorite animals'

Nadya was an Amur tiger – she came to the Minnesota Zoo as a young cub from the St. Louis Zoo in the summer of 2012, according to the release.

She lived with a Minnesota Zoo-born cub named Sundai, the zoo said. Both cubs were hand raised because their mothers weren't able to nurse properly.

“We are very sad over the unexpected passing of Nadya,” Kevin Willis, the Minnesota Zoo’s vice president for biological programs said in the release. “Because she was hand raised here, she was one of our favorite animals and despite receiving the very best in medical care, she unfortunately didn’t survive. She will always be remembered by staff and volunteers as a sweet-natured tiger.”

With Nadya's passing, four tigers remain at the zoo: 3-year-olds Sundari and Patrice, 6-year-old Putin, and the oldest tiger, Molniy, who is 16 and currently being treated for age-related conditions including arthritis, the zoo says.

Next Up


Eagan man killed after crashing into traffic signal

The 30-year-old crashed into a traffic light early Wednesday morning.

Melvin Carter

What's in Mayor Melvin Carter's budget proposal?

Here's what the St. Paul mayor is putting his focus on for the upcoming year.

WCCO building

Digital, streaming employees at WCCO-TV vote to unionize

The 15 employees will join on-air talent and producers as members of the SAG-AFTRA union.


Police arrest man suspected of sexual assault, weapons threat in Eagan

The investigation prompted a SWAT response in an Eagan neighborhood on Tuesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 16

The latest reporting period averaged just under 1,300 new cases per day.


Jason and Carly Zucker sell Edina home for $4.18M

The property was bought in 2020, months after Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Legacy Lot Random (1 of 6)

Gallery: Luxury living is par for the course here

Cragun’s Golf Resort Communities Offer Stunning Views Along with Resort-Style Living

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 8.10.56 AM

Restrictions in place as Emerald Ash Borer found in Sherburne County

The county is now the 36th in the state with a confirmed presence of the invasive insect.

Fire, firefighters

Home that was scene of June standoff engulfed in fire

Authorities arrived to find the home fully ablaze.

Rosland park bridge

Crosstown Hwy. 62 reopens as footage emerges of truck hitting bridge

The westbound lanes were closed in Edina from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday night.


The Minnesota Zoo's oldest Amur tiger died

Molniy was among zookeepers' favorite animals.

The Minnesota Zoo's oldest Amur tiger died

Molniy was among zookeepers' favorite animals.

Rare tiger cub moves to the Minnesota Zoo

An Amur tiger cub born at the Minnesota Zoo last month has a new buddy from St. Louis. Zoo officials decided it was best for the endangered cubs to be raised together. Both are also being "hand-reared" because their mothers could not successfully nurse them.

New tiger cub at Minnesota Zoo being raised by hand

Zookeepers in Apple Valley are raising the endangered Amur Tiger cub because her mom wasn't showing much interest in her. In fact, two cubs were born last week but only one survived the first few days. It's the zoo's first tiger birth in eight years.