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The Zoo Atlanta community is mourning the loss of Chelsea, a beloved 20-year-old female Sumatran tiger, who passed away after a battle with chronic health conditions, particularly kidney disease. Despite the diligent efforts of the Veterinary and Animal Care Teams to monitor and treat Chelsea, it became evident that there was no path to recovery, leading to the difficult decision to euthanize her. Described as a magnificent cat with a remarkable legacy, Chelsea had called Zoo Atlanta’s John P. Imlay Tiger Habitat home since 2006. Notably, she made significant contributions to the conservation efforts of her species by giving birth to cubs Sohni and Sanjiv in 2011, marking the first Sumatran tiger birth at the zoo in over a decade. While both offspring have since moved to other AZA-accredited organizations, Chelsea’s legacy lives on through them and underscores the critical importance of preserving these endangered species.

Sumatran tigers, among the rarest subspecies of tigers, face significant threats in the wild, with fewer than 400 believed to remain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to Zoo Atlanta. Chelsea’s passing serves as a poignant reminder of these majestic creatures’ challenges in their natural habitats and the vital role accredited zoological institutions play in their conservation. Despite the sorrow felt by Chelsea’s care team and the Zoo Atlanta community, there is gratitude for the exceptional care and dedication she received during her 18 years at the zoo. As the community reflects on Chelsea’s life and legacy, they are reminded of the importance of continued efforts to protect and preserve endangered species for future generations to appreciate and cherish.