King Zulu, beloved white Bengal tiger at Audubon Zoo, dies

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – King Zulu, the white Bengal tiger that mesmerized scores of visitors to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, has died.

Officials with the Audubon Nature Institute said that the 20-year-old male tiger was euthanized Sunday after a “steep decline in health.”

Zoo officials say King Zulu had been receiving hospice-style treatment. He was born at the Nashville Zoo in 1996 and had been with the Audubon since 1999. News of his death on Facebook drew more than 1,700 “sad” clicks.

Zoo curator Joe Forys says King Zulu loved interacting with staff and guests.

Experts say Bengal tigers in the wild can live up to 15 years; in human care, up to 20 years.

The Audubon Zoo is a popular tourist destination in New Orleans, with over 800,000 visitors every year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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