Riverbanks Zoo mourning death of resident tiger, Vitali

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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden announced the passing of Vitali, a male Amur tiger, on Tuesday. This photo of Vitali is courtesy Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is mourning the loss of its resident male tiger, Vitali.

Zoo leaders said Vitali, an Amur tiger, had been housed at the zoo for nine years.

They said he was a “tremendous ambassador” for his species and a treat for members and guests who enjoyed his beauty, presence, and massive size.

“Vitali’s favorite enrichment included small, squishy items that could easily be pounced and poked. Vitali also had a big appetite–loving quail and rabbit. He also enjoyed a good, long cat nap, especially on a giant fluffy bed,” said Catherine, an animal care supervisor.

Zoo leaders said Vitali will especially be missed by Koshka, a female tiger, for whom he often greeted with a “grumpy but sweet presence with low grumbles and sweet loving eyes,” zookeepers and the Riverbanks community.

The zoo did not announce a reason for Vitali’s passing.

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