Tribute to a Princess
No, not a member of the British Royal family but a tiger.
On Wednesday April 19, 2006 we lost our Siberian Tiger, Krishna. She was 19 years old (almost 20) and had very clearly told us that she was ready to continue on to the next leg of her journey. Many of us believe that she was tired of being on Earth without Stubby (a male siberian tiger we lost to cancer in 2004).
Krishna was truly a Princess (with a capital P). Us zookeepers were her servants, the hired help if you will. And we loved her for it. She would always act aloof, like she didn't care if we were there or not, but the minute we started to walk away she would get mad - stand up and hiss at us. If Stubby came over for attention, of any sort, she would walk up and bite at him. It was like she was saying "you're not supposed to pay attention to the help!!" :)
Despite all that though, she would choose to hang out in the holding unit closest to us and would even choose to stay inside while we were there, even if she had access to her exhibit. (FYI - we work in protected contact with our carnivores. There is always a barrier of some sort (steel mesh, lexan, water moat, dry moat) between us and them. It's safer for everybody concerned.) She would just lay there, with her head up, and watch us do, well, just about anything.
Everyone who saw her loved her. And felt blessed to have been in her presence.
Good bye and Good luck Krishna. We'll miss you. Say hi to Stubby for us and tell him we miss him.