Male tiger dies at Perth Zoo after illness

The oldest male Sumatran tiger at an Australian zoo has died in Perth after a battle with chronic kidney issues.

Perth Zoo said 17-year-old Dumai had been unwell for a while and the team had been caring for him around the clock, almost like palliative care.

"We owed him a dignified end to his life. Always a hard decision, but the correct one," a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Zookeeper Karen Rotherham said she first met Dumai in Germany when he was a "fluffy, little six-month-old".

"Dumai was a cub that had needed to be hand-raised and he had no siblings, so he grew up with his German zookeepers and their dog," she said.

"He may have been getting a bit big for harness walks when we visited, as he showed a lot of interest in the zebras and other animals on the way around."

Dumai arrived at Perth Zoo in January 2004 and to help him adjust to the heat, he was given a small pool.

"When he grew bigger, he decided that destroying the tubs was more fun," the keeper said.

"As he grew older, in very hot weather, he enjoyed playing with the hose, biting at the water and relishing a full body spray from the hose.

"He continued to mature and became a very charismatic adult ... we loved him and he will forever be in our hearts."