Sumatran tiger dies at Kentucky zoo

The Courier-Journal
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Louisville Zoo has lost a 16-year-old Sumatran tiger named Masuji, who was euthanized because of infirmities related to a tumor, zoo officials said yesterday.

The zoo staff affectionately called the tiger Moose, because of his unusually big head.

Moose was put down on Nov. 30 by the zoo staff, said spokeswoman Debbie Sebree. The body is undergoing tests by zoo veterinarians, after which it will be cremated, she said.

In June, Moose had been diagnosed with a tumor on a nerve adjacent to his spinal cord in the lower portion of its back.

His condition improved for a while with chemotherapy, zoo officials said, but a rear leg eventually weakened and finally became paralyzed.

“When all medical treatment options were exhausted, the decision for humane euthanasia was made,” Sebree said, adding that 16 years “is relatively old for a big cat.”

Moose was born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and arrived in Louisville four years ago under the guidelines of the Association of Zoos and Aquariaums’ species-survival plan. Such plans track the lineage, mating and placement of many types of U.S. zoo animals, especially endangered species, in an effort to minimize inbreeding.

The death of Moose, who sired triplets in 2004, leaves the zoo with two female Sumatran tigers — his mate, Tabib, 15, and his 2-year-old daughter, Leela. They will remain on exhibit in the islands area of the zoo.

The staff is working with the zoo association to see if another male Sumatran tiger is available.


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