A much-loved member of Woburn Safari Park' s tiger family has died after a short illness.
Fan favourite Elton, a male Amur tiger, who was 10 years old, was being treated for a bladder condition.
A message on the safari park's Facebook page said: "It is with very heavy hearts that we have to share the devastating news that after a brief and sudden illness, Elton the male Amur tiger has passed away.
"On Sunday 23rd January his dedicated team of specialist vets and keepers had to come to the difficult decision to euthanize Elton. Following emergency surgery the day before on a bladder condition, Elton sadly did not make the recovery everyone had hoped he would. It was decided that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep.
"Elton, who was ten years old, first arrived at Woburn Safari Park in 2013 from Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic. During his time at Woburn, he became a father to two female tigers. His two daughters have now both moved on to other collections where they will continue his legacy and do their own part in securing the future of this incredible species.
"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. 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 at the Park. RIP Elton."
Many were quick to offer their condolences. One Safari fan said: "We have had the pleasure of seeing Elton many, many times. He has provided us with hours and hours of enjoyment, watching him patrol his territory. We will miss his majestic prowling. We send his keepers our sympathy and our thanks and gratitude for allowing us to gain these wonderful memories. Thank you Elton and many many thanks to his dedicated keepers."
While another added: "He was so beautifully breathtaking. Our family were so blessed to have seen him on our trip to Woburn on this crisp snowy day in 2019, RIP Elton"
Another post said: "So sorry, and sad to read of the passing of beautiful Elton who prowled gracefully and majestically around his patch Woburn. Thinking of "Everyone" past and present at Woburn at this very sad time".
The Amur tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is one of the largest cats in the world. In the 20th century the magnificent beasts were near extinction but intensive conservation efforts have managed to increase their numbers.