tomar-moncton

Tomar, seen in this photo taken last January, was suffering kidney failure. ((CBC))

Tomar the 19-year-old Siberian tiger, beloved mascot of Moncton's Magnetic Hill Zoo, was euthanized Friday nightafter suffering kidney problems for the pastyear.

Zoo officials said it was clear the animal was suffering.

When his ill health was first announced last January, the zoo held a special open house to allow the public the chance to see Tomar and say goodbye.

But the tiger made it through another season and the zoo's general manager, Bruce Dougan, said he only showed signs of serious deterioration on Friday.

"He was just like a healthy cat. He was like a bit of a kitten, very playful and demonstrative about his feelings for the keepers," Dougan said. "Even up until Thursday his keeper said that he was being a big goof and playing in the snow. "

Zoo officials will meet on Monday to decide how to commemorate Tomar.

Meanwhile, Dougan said the zoo will likely purchase another tiger down the road, but staff won't think about those plans for some time.