Yesterday, Hermes, the elderly male Sumatran tiger of Rotterdam Zoo suddenly died. After he received his meat, he suffocated while choking on a chunk of his dinner. He died on the spot in front of several visitors. Like many older felines, Hermes suffered from a chronic kidney problem, which gradually weakened him. Whether or not this was the cause of his unfortunate death is unclear. Rotterdam Zoo calls it a tragic coincidence.
Hermes has been an inhabitant of the Zoo since May 17, 1996 and has sired a total of six cubs. Hermes was sixteen-and-a-half years old. Captive tigers have lived for as long as twenty-six years, and twenty years is not uncommon. The life span in the wild is much shorter. A wild tiger doing well when reaching fourteen. (Sources: website Rotterdam Zoo, 07.04.2011; Wild Cats of the Worlds by Mel and Fiona Sunquist, 2002)