Tiger cub gravely ill, may have infection

Staff writerFebruary 27, 2013 

An endangered Malayan tiger cub was in poor condition Tuesday after undergoing emergency surgery Monday night at Tacoma’s zoo.

Berani, who arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in October, fell ill Monday. His keepers noticed something was amiss when the 6-month-old cub stopped eating, developed a high fever and became lethargic.

Zoo veterinarians immediately took X-rays and performed an ultrasound on the cub, looking for a possible intestinal blockage.

“There was no blockage, but his gastrointestinal tract appears to be very, very irritated,” zoo veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said, adding that Berani could be suffering from an infection.

After surgery, the 74-pound cub developed acute respiratory distress and was sedated and put on oxygen therapy. He was in poor but stable condition Tuesday, zoo officials said.

“Our veterinary and zoological staff are working around the clock to care for Berani,” general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.

They also are sending regular updates to The Tulsa Zoo, where the cub was born Aug. 26. He was brought to Tacoma to be raised with Dumai, a Sumatran tiger cub born at Point Defiance four days before Berani.

Neither cub thrived after birth, prompting zookeepers to raise them together so they could learn tiger behavior from each other. Both were single births.

“We care for Berani, as he is one of our own, and our thoughts are with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during this time,” said Joe Barkowski, vice president of Animal Conservation & Science at The Tulsa Zoo.

The cubs live together in the Asian Forest Sanctuary Day Room. Dumai is healthy, and keepers are keeping his routine normal.

stacia.glenn@ thenewstribune.com

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