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Luther, The Franklin Park Zoo's 'Incredible' White Tiger, Dies

A Boston zoo's 14-year-old white tiger has died after a brief battle with cancer.

Luther, a white tiger, died Thursday after a brief battle with cancer. (Courtesy Franklin Park Zoo)
Luther, a white tiger, died Thursday after a brief battle with cancer. (Courtesy Franklin Park Zoo)

The Franklin Park Zoo says its tiger, Luther, was recently diagnosed with an "undifferentiated round cell tumor" and stopped responding to medication.

The zoo decided to euthanize him Thursday as Luther's health began to decline.

"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," zoo officials said in a statement. "As he got older, one of his favorite things to do was to rub against a log sprinkled with his favorite scent – ground cloves."

Luther moved to the Franklin Park Zoo with a Bengal mix named Anala in 2006. At the time it had been 30 years since the zoo had exhibited a tiger.

Both big cats had been confiscated as young cubs from a wildlife sanctuary by federal wildlife agents.

They moved to the zoo prior to the opening of the Tiger Tales exhibit, which aimed to educate the public about illegal wildlife trafficking.

Anala still lives at the zoo.

“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," the statement also said. "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.”

With additional reporting from the WBUR Newsroom

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