LAHORE: A tigress that was suffering from trypanosomiasis and was 15 years of age, died at the Lahore Zoo on Saturday.
Similarly, another Bengal tigress of age 14 died a day before on Thursday at the Lahore Zoo because of the same disease. This tigress had given the zoo 19 cubs.
Trypanosomiasis is a blood parasite transmitted from infected individuals by vectors like mosquitos, fleas and ticks. The parasite attacks the nervous system through blood causing drowsiness, sleepiness, fever, weight loss and ultimately death. The incubation period of disease ranges between one to four weeks.
The Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a subspecies of tiger primarily found in Bangladesh and India and also in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and in southern Tibet. It is the most common tiger subspecies, and lives in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. Its fur is generally orange-brown with black stripes, although there is a mutation that sometimes produces white tigers, as well as a rare variation (less than 100 known to exist, all in captivity) called the Golden Tabby that has a white coat with golden patches and stripes that are much paler than normal. It is the national animal of both Bangladesh and India.
In the beginning of 2007, precautionary measures, such as mosquito repellents were sprayed in cages and the cages were repainted.
The zoo administration had meetings with animal experts and veternians to deal with the spread of trypanosomiasis in tigers and treatments and measures recommended by experts were strictly followed, but the efforts went futile.
The zoo is only left with three young tigers and one old tiger.
The Lahore zoo got a pair of tigers in 1992 from Belgium and started their captive breeding and got more tigers from them.
In 1997, six tigers died of this disease at the Lahore Zoo.
Tigers across the globe have been victim to trypanosomiasis. The disease caused the death of twelve tigers at the Nanadankanan Zoo in Orissa. In India and Bangladesh, two hundred tigers have died in six months because of the disease.
Three Bengal tigers had died at Lahore Zoo in 2006.