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Young female tiger at San Diego Zoo killed by prospective mate

Malaysia

SAN DIEGO — Sad news from the San Diego Zoo: a young Malayan tiger has been killed by the "aggressive behavior" of her intended mate.

The female, named Tiga Tahun, died of injuries to her neck and breathing capability inflicted by a male named Connor during a mating session Saturday morning.

A zookeeper monitoring the session witnessed the injury, but the damage was done before the keeper could intervene. No visitors saw the incident, a zoo spokeswoman said Monday.

Tiga Tahun was born in 2009 at the Bronx Zoo but was owned by the Omaha Zoo. Connor was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2011.

Aggressive behavior during mating is not unusual for jungle cats and more mature animals know how to keep it from being lethal, the spokeswoman said. It was the first mating session for both Tiga Tahun and Connor.

Tigers are normally solitary animals and the genders only meet when the female is in season.

A necropsy has been planned.

The Malayan tiger is one of the smaller subspecies of tigers and is found in Malaysia and parts of Thailand. Due to poaching and loss of habitat, the Malayan tiger has been listed as an endangered species.

Connor is now the only Malayan tiger in the zoo's Tiger River exhibit.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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