Last ditch battle to save tiger cub
17 Nov 2008, 0422 hrs IST, Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN
NAGPUR: Vets treating the critically ill tiger cub at Maharajbagh Zoo are trying some cutting edge treatments in order to save its life. On Sunday, 500 ml of tiger blood was air-lifted from Borivali National Park, Mumbai, in a last ditch effort. Some 200 ml of this blood was administered to the female cub.
According to vets treating the two tiger cubs, which were brought to the zoo after being captured in Mendki village of Brahmapuri Forest Division in Chandrapur, this is perhaps for the first time that a tiger has been given a blood transfusion.
The situation arose after it was found that haemoglobin level in the cub had gone down to 4.2 gms/l. Normally, it should be between 8 and 12 gms. An alarmed Dr S S Bawaskar, zoo incharge, called up principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), B Majumdar, at 1 pm on Sunday.
Majumdar immediately contacted Borivali National Park where there are white tigers. He asked the director of the park, P N Munde, to arrange for 350 ml tiger blood. They responded promptly and Dr Vinaya Jangle, park veterinarian, was on the evening flight to the city with the blood. She reached Maharajbagh Zoo later in the evening. Majumdar told TOI, “It is really commendable that Dr Jangle completed all the formalities within two hours and was ready with the blood.”
When asked whether it was for the first time that such blood transfusion is taking place in tiger, Majumdar said, “Taking blood for various tests is routine, but I think for transfusion, it may be for the first time.” Dr Jangle said a white male and a female tiger were anaesthesised and 250 ml of blood was drawn from them each. “It took me 45 minutes to complete the procedure. I’ve not heard about a tiger being given a blood transfusion,” he added.
In Nagpur, the vets found the blood of male tiger Bajirao was a closer fit with the cub’s. They first gave 125 ml of it. When nothing negative happened, they gave another 75 ml. Dr Shirish Upadhye, veterinary surgeon and deputy director (research), Nagpur Veterinary College (NVC), says, “I’ve checked up and there is no record to suggest that any tiger from the wild has ever been given blood.