PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Bernadette, a female Amur tiger at the Oregon Zoo, will call Portland home for just a few more days before relocating to the midwest.
The zoo announced Bernadette’s departure on Wednesday morning.
According to a spokesperson, the 7-year-old cat will see Oregon Zoo visitors for the last time on Sunday, Oct. 15 before moving to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minn. later this month.
“We will all miss Bernie,” Amy Hash, supervisor of the Amur tiger area, said in a release. “She is a spicy tiger — playful and always one step ahead. Now she’s taking another important step, and we are so proud we got to be part of her story.”
Bernadette was born on Sept. 14, 2016 at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She was the smallest of the three cubs in her litter — but her caregivers described her as a ‘spitfire’ who made up for her small size with her big personality.
It wasn’t until 2019 that she relocated to Portland in response to a Species Survival Plan, a program that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums launched to protect certain animals from extinction.
According to the Oregon Zoo, there are similar reasons behind Bernadette’s impending move to Minnesota.
The zoo reported that Bernadette’s subspecies, the Amur tigers, are at ‘serious risk of extinction’ due to poaching, habitat loss and a lack of genetic variation. An estimated 500 Amur tigers remain in their native habitat in Southeast Russia.
Oregon Zoo representatives say their facilities don’t have enough space for Bernadette to raise cubs and help keep her species alive, but she’ll be able to do so in her new home at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.
When Bernadette leaves Oregon, the zoo will have more room to welcome two young male tigers this year.