Raja, El Paso Zoo’s Malayan tiger, euthanized
By Jay Koester / El Paso Times
Posted: 09/22/2009 03:03:00 PM MDT
Raja, the El Paso Zoo’s 16-year-old Malayan tiger, was euthanized today when a cancerous mass was found in his abdomen.
“Most days at the Zoo are a celebration of life and its astonishing diversity, but today the zoo has lost a valuable and beloved member of our family,” Zoo Director Steve Marshall said in a news release.
As Raja was examined Monday under anesthesia a large mass was found in his abdomen. Surgery was planned for today to attempt to remove the mass, but veterinarians found the cancerous mass could not be removed and was beginning to spread.
“We had to make the right decision for Raja,” Zoo veterinarian Dr. Victoria Milne said. “It was obvious that this process was not going to resolve with surgery and was only going to progress and make him feel very ill, very quickly. At least we were able to cut that suffering short.”
At 16 years old, Raja was geriatric for tigers, officials said. Problems like kidney failure, arthritis, and cancer increase in frequency with old age in cats, as in people and other animals.