Atascadero zoo’s tiger dies during surgery

Atascadero zoo’s tiger dies during surgery

Posted on Fri, Jun. 05, 2009

Charles Paddock Zoo’s marquee tiger, Sala, died during surgery Thursday.

The nine-year-old Indochinese tiger was undergoing exploratory surgery when she died, said Alan Baker, zoo director. The animal had been gaining weight and having other health problems and veterinarians decided to operate after a physical examination and x-rays failed to determine what the problem was.

“Suddenly, her heart stopped and they could not resuscitate her,” he said.

Sala’s death leaves the zoo with no tigers, which are one of the zoo’s signature exhibits. Managers are committed to getting other tigers to display but the process of obtaining one can be lengthy, Bakers said.

Blood tests taken during the surgery should be back from the laboratory within a couple of weeks and may reveal the tiger’s cause of death, which is a mystery at this time.

“Our animal care staff is utter devastated by this,” Baker said.

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