BATON ROUGE - BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo announced Friday afternoon that one of two juvenile Malayan tigers, Hadiah, died this week.
The tiger was born on July 29, 2014 died Wednesday evening. According to zoo authorities, the cause of death is unknown.
“This death was much unexpected,” zoo veterinarian, Dr. Gordon Pirie, said. “Just earlier that afternoon, we were performing routine rounds with a LSU veterinary intern and she appeared to be exhibiting normal behavior and in great health.”
Keeper staff say that at the time of the zoo’s close, the tigers were brought back into their dens for the night and Hadiah seemed “to be behaving normally.”
Zoo veterinary staff were able to review the tigers' behavior from the installed camera inside the cats' den.
The footage shows the tiger entering the den as usual and then resting for a short period of time before showing obvious signs of distress. She died approximately 15 minutes later.
“The video footage did show signs of abdominal distress shortly before her death,” Pirie said.
“That could be attributed to gastric dilatation, which can be acute and is often fatal, but that is a clinical observation only as viewed from the video.”
The zoo has reached out to the United States Department of Agriculture to perform a full inspection.
“This is obviously heartbreaking for all the staff at the Zoo, and we know we have many out there who have watched her since birth and are also feeling this loss,” zoo director Phil Frost said.
“Our veterinary and keeper staff provide the best quality of care for our animals possible, but deaths do happen, and unfortunately we’ve had a rough spring. By inviting the USDA to come in for a voluntary inspection, we’re hoping to assure our supporters that everything that can be done for the care and well-being of our animals is being done on a daily basis,” Frost said.
A necropsy was performed at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine by the Louisiana Animal Diagnostic Laboratory with final results expected in the next few weeks.
Hadiah's death comes after the deaths of two female giraffes and a golden lion tamarin monkey in March.
BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo says Hadiah, born in 2014, one of its two juvenile Malayan tigers died Wednesday evening. Cause of death is unknown.— Brittany Weiss WBRZ (@MsBWeiss) April 15, 2016