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Zoo welcomes tiger, bids farewell to beloved sheep

Submitted Photo Finn, a 7-year-old male Amur tiger, has a new home at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot. Previously, he was at a Grand Rapids, Michigan, zoo.

Minot’s Roosevelt Park Zoo staff welcomed a 7-year-old male Amur tiger on Wednesday, Nov. 22, to his new home.

The tiger, named Finn, is from the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Finn was born July 7, 2016, at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska. He was transferred to the John Ball Zoo in 2018. Because he had not been successful in breeding there, the Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended that he be moved to Roosevelt Park Zoo to be paired with its female Amur tiger, Zoya. Zoya has proven herself to be a successful breeder and mother with the previous male Viktor and the three cubs she produced.

Finn is currently going through the quarantine process and is kept separate from the others while his health is monitored to find any medical concerns that could be passed on to the others.

Finn made his first venture out on exhibit under the sunshine on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Guests can see Finn in the third yard closest to the aviary, and most won’t likely confuse him with the other tigers due to his size.

He will remain isolated from the others even beyond his quarantine period because tigers are naturally solitary animals. Once the two male cubs are transferred in December and his quarantine is complete, Finn will be introduced to the other two habitats.

Zoo staff welcomed Finn and said farewell on Wednesday, Nov. 29, to one of its most beloved animals, the male barbary sheep named Noah.

Noah was born on May 2, 2011, and became a part of the zoo’s family on July 7, that same year.

Noah arrived as a lamb and was one of the first animals moved into the zoo following the June 2011 flood that forced the entire animal collection to be relocated.

“Noah’s arrival into the zoo at that time not only brought hope but guided the visions of a brighter future for both the zoo and the community impacted by the disaster,” said Jeff Bullock, zoo director.

Following the flood, it took several years to rebound and return the zoo to normalcy, but through this time Noah seemed to show the way. Noah was halter trained and used as an ambassador animal over the years and lived in the children’s zoo section.

Noah was joined by two ewes in November 2013 and has shared space with them since. Dorothy and Irene were both born March 1, 2011.

Noah had developed an infection within his jaw that, while treatable, would be painful and require multiple procedures over time. The expected life span of sheep is from 10-12 years and Noah was going on 13 years. Based on his health condition, his advanced age and the upcoming winter, staff agreed that for his sake, euthanasia would be the kindest gift to offer.

On Nov. 29, Noah was humanely put to rest inside his barn with Dorothy and Irene present. Once the procedure was completed, staff stepped aside to allow the ewes time with him before he was removed. This was to allow them to have closure rather than having him just disappear from their lives.

“Changes occur in the zoo daily. Some changes are better than others but we learn early that when you work with animals, you’ve got to take the bad with the good. The passing of Noah will leave a hole in many hearts, but the addition of Finn and prospect of future tiger cubs can help to start filling those holes,” Bullock said.

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