King Zulu, beloved white Bengal tiger at Audubon Zoo, dies

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 6, 2017 at 3:35 p.m.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — King Zulu, the white Bengal tiger who mesmerized visitors to New Orleans' Audubon Zoo for almost two decades, has died.

Officials with the Audubon Nature Institute said the 20-year-old male tiger was euthanized Sunday after a "steep decline in health."

Zoo officials say King Zulu had been receiving hospice-style treatment. He was born at the Nashville Zoo in 1996 and had been with the Audubon since 1999. News of his death on Facebook drew more than 1,700 "sad" clicks.

Zoo curator Joe Forys says King Zulu loved interacting with staff and guests.

Experts say Bengal tigers in the wild can live up to 15 years; in human care, up to 20 years.

The Audubon Zoo is a popular tourist destination in New Orleans, with more than 800,000 visitors every year.

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