A rare white tiger involved in the 2008 killing of a zoo worker has been put down after suffering from skin cancer and joint degeneration, the Singapore Zoo said on Thursday. Omar, who would have turned 18 in September, or the equivalent of 88 in human years, had been suffering from skin cancer for the past three years, zoo operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore said in a statement.
“Recent assessment had seen worsening of his health and the difficult decision was made to euthanise him to prevent further deterioration of his quality of life,” the statement said, adding that Omar also suffered from joint degeneration. Omar was born in captivity in Indonesia and was brought to Singapore in 2001. It made headlines in 2008 when a zoo worker apparently committed suicide by jumping into the big cat’s enclosure. The Malaysian man was mauled to death by Omar and two female white tigers as visitors looked on, thinking it was part of a performance.
White lions and tigers are extremely rare, numbering only a few hundred worldwide, and owe their appearance to a recessive gene. They are not albinos. Two white tigers remain in the Singapore Zoo — a four- year-old pair that arrived in 2015.