Alexandria zoo mourns the loss of two tigers within a week
Two tigers have died within a week of each other at Alexandria Zoological Park. Officials made the 2nd announcement on their Facebook page this afternoon.
On September 14th, they announced their Malayan tiger, Jammu, was euthanized due to age-related issues. Jammu was reportedly the oldest known male Malayan tiger in the United States, at 22 years and four months old. He came to the Alexandria zoo in 2009.
"Jammu has remained active and healthy until very recently, belying his extremely advanced age. In recent months, he developed cataracts and was noted to be less adventurous in his climbing activities but maintained an excellent quality of life," said the zoo's veterinarian, Dr. Rebekah Riedel. "However, over the last several days, he underwent significant loss of strength and muscle mass. Although the precise underlying cause is unknown, the most likely causes are not reversible. It is our responsibility and privilege to ensure that the animals in our care do not suffer. The decision to euthanize is not undertaken lightly, but was necessary and appropriate at this time.”
The pathology team at LSU veterinary school will be performing a necropsy to identify underlying disease processes; they hope this will help contribute to the knowledge of his species, as well as educate and inspire a new group of veterinarians.
On September 5th, the zoo announced their 18-year-old white tiger, Hannah, was also euthanized after her health quickly deteriorated.
They say more than 10 months ago she was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of cancer, in the corner of her right eye. Two surgical procedures were performed over that time to reduce the size of the tumor because the location of it made radiation therapy impossible. Zoo officials say survival time with this type of cancer is usually six months.
“We are very fortunate that Hannah survived as long as she did, and without any decrease in her quality of life,” said staff veterinarian Dr. Rebekah Riedel. “The seizure she experienced on Sunday was the first indication that her cancer had likely progressed. Knowing that there were no reasonable options to treat the cancer, the most important thing to us was to ensure she did not suffer.”
Zoo officials say they do plan to renovate the existing tiger habitat to welcome new Malayan tigers in the future and participate in the Species Survival Plan breeding program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
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