Woburn Safari Park: Elton the tiger put to sleep after illness

A male Amur tiger at Woburn Safari Park has had to be put to sleep after a brief illness.

Elton, who was 10 years old, arrived at the Bedfordshire attraction in 2013 from Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The park said the animal had emergency surgery on a bladder condition on Saturday but "did not make the recovery everyone had hoped he would".

On Sunday, "it was decided that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep," a statement said.

It added that it had been a "difficult decision".

During his time at Woburn, Elton became a father to two female tigers in 2015, the first to be born at Woburn for more than 20 years.

Both have now moved on to other collections where they will "continue his legacy and do their own part in securing the future of this incredible species", the spokesman said.

"He was a big cat, with an even bigger personality and everyone at the park has loved watching his confident character grow over the years he has been at Woburn," the statement added.

"He will be sorely missed by all those who met him but particularly by his keepers, some of whom have worked with him since his arrival."

The park is now home to one remaining Amur tiger, a female called Minerva who also arrived in 2013.

The species, from a region of Siberia, are the largest of the tigers and there are only an estimated 400 to 500 living in the wild, in the birch forests of Eastern Russia.