A Norfolk zoo has announced the death of its "beloved" Amur tiger, Kuzma.

Banham Zoological Gardens is mourning the loss of the 14-year-old male, who died ​on March 2.

Kuzma was being closely monitored by his keepers, who noticed some signs his health was starting to deteriorate during the ​last few weeks.

It was advised that a full health check under general anaesthetic was required to fully assess his condition and treatment options.

Eastern Daily Press: A Norfolk zoo has announced the death of their beloved Amur tiger, Kuzma. Picture: Banham ZooA Norfolk zoo has announced the death of their beloved Amur tiger, Kuzma. Picture: Banham Zoo (Image: Banham Zoo)

This examination confirmed that Kuzma was suffering from heart failure, with a tumour on his heart.

Keepers and vets were in agreement that the kindest option was to put him to sleep.

Graeme Williamson, head of living collections at the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), said: “We are all deeply saddened to lose such an iconic animal at Banham Zoological Gardens.

"Kuzma truly was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by all staff, members, and visitors alike.”

Amur tigers are from a region of Siberia and are the largest of the big cat species but it is estimated there is only 400 to 500 living in the wild. 

Faye Bethell, veterinary director at ZSEA, said: “Kuzma was a delight to work with and a favourite for many of our keepers and visitors.

"The results of his tests showed he had end-stage heart failure, which sadly left us with no option but to put him to sleep.

“He will live on in our memories and of course through his two cubs, Luka and Kira.”

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Kuzma was born in October 2008 and has lived almost his entire life at Banham Zoo.

He was paired with female tiger Mishka in May 2021 as part of the International Breeding Programme for their endangered species.

The pair successfully bred and leave behind a legacy with their cubs Luka and Kira, born in October 2021.