Zoo tiger dies after giving birth to cub
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The mother of the baby Bengal tiger born at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall has died.
Tira, who arrived at the zoo in June with another female called Kushkja, died on Sunday after suffering multiple organ failure.
Post mortem results show that she had a disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) which is caused by a virus called Feline coronavirus.
The six-year-old gave birth to three cubs on July 29, but two were sadly still born. Tira then rejected the surviving cub, and now staff at the zoo are hand-rearing him.
It is not yet known if he has the disease, and staff are hoping he does not develop any symptoms as there is currently no available treatment.
The virus is fairly common in cats, but less than five per cent of cats infected with it will go on to develop symptoms.
Zoo owner Anthony Bush said: “Tira’s body was severely affected by the virus, resulting in multiple organ failure – it is likely that the disease had been developing for many months. In pet cats FIP often goes undetected until the end stages of the disease as symptoms are not always very obvious.
“Suddenly the abdomen becomes noticeably swollen (caused by fluid accumulation) and the cat quickly becomes very poorly; sadly, this appears to be what happened to Tira too.
“Some of the signs of the disease are very non-specific, such as distension of the abdomen, lethargy and a lack of appetite. Of course, given Tira was pregnant when she arrived, her distended abdomen and sleepiness were to be expected.
“Understandably keepers at the zoo are devastated after spending the last few weeks working hard alongside vets to make her better, not realising that they were fighting a losing battle. When you work that closely with animals it’s like losing a close friend and we are all feeling the loss.”
You can watch Tira’s cub on a live webcam – and you can also vote on what he should be called.
Votes on whether he should be called Tapan or Tumkur will close on Monday.