The Sacramento Zoo hasn't recovered from the loss of its 15-year-old Sumatran tiger Baha. While they mourn, some animal activists are saying they're not surprised a tiger would act out because it's not in its natural environment.
"It's going to be something that impacts us for quite some time," said Kyle Burks, Sacramento Zoo's executive director and CEO.
Sumatran tiger Baha lost her life Wednesday morning. During their first physician introduction, she was attacked and killed by Mohan, the male tiger meant to breed with her.
While it's upsetting for zoo officials, it doesn't come as a shock to animal activists.
"When you put wild animals in cages that are so much smaller than their natural environments, it's only natural that they would act out in ways they would never exhibit in the wild," said animal activist Jeni Haines.
Burks says the situation is rare. Since 1968, 18 pairs of big cats have been introduced at the zoo and nothing like this has ever happened.
However, the PETA Foundation tells FOX40 sometimes it is almost inevitable.
"Captivity is stressful for animals, it's not unusual for animals to lash out," said Brittany Peet with PETA.
Mohan hasn't bred with other tigers but has been around female tigers in the past.
"He had lived successfully and been introduced to other females -- never seen aggression like this," Burks said.
Zoo officials couldn't say what the next step is for Mohan, but they said he will stay in the zoo system.
The USDA said they are aware of the incident and will be looking into it to make sure there are no violations of the Animal Welfare Act.