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Tiger cub in critical condition at Point Defiance

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Nov. 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm with 11 Comments »
November 16, 2010 1:26 pm

Mali, top, with brother Bima, earlier this year
Troubling news from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: One of the Sumatran tiger cubs born at the zoo this year is in “grim” condition following surgery yesterday. Below is the zoo’s press release. We’ll update as more information becomes available.

Female tiger cub at Point Defiance Zoo in critical condition after undergoing surgery yesterday

Tacoma, Wash. – Mali, one of two endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, is in critical condition after undergoing surgery yesterday afternoon.

Zoo head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf called the prognosis for the five-month-old tiger “grim,” but said, “We haven’t given up hope and are continuing to monitor her around-the-clock and provide intensive treatment.”

Mali underwent surgery yesterday afternoon after keeper staff noticed that she was lethargic and looked uncomfortable. Zoo veterinarians examined her and found her stomach to be taut and distended. X-rays suggested a blockage somewhere in her gastrointestinal tract. Zoo veterinarian Dr. Holly Reed performed exploratory surgery. Zoo veterinarian Dr. Allison Case assisted, providing anesthesia.

Dr. Reed said Mali appeared to have eaten an extra large meal yesterday that included a bone for gnawing on. “We found several pieces of the bone that appeared to be blocking the lower end of her stomach, preventing it from passing food to her intestines,” she said. “No other areas of her intestine showed any evidence of blockage.” Bones are part of a normal meal.

Mali experienced post-surgical complications last night and went into cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated but zoo veterinarians believe she suffered some brain damage due to low oxygen and are aggressively treating her. Zoo veterinarians also are consulting with a local emergency veterinarian and neurologist about her case and treatment options.

“We’re very worried about Mali and are doing everything we possibly can to help her,” said Dr. Wolf.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. I don’t understand why post operative food was not given to her. Bones are a normal part of a meal in a normal healthy cub…..

  2. How sad. I took the kids to see the cubs shortly after they were born. They are so precious. I will continue to believe the PDZ is not neglicient in caring for these priceless creatures, for now. I will say a prayer to the Tiger Gods in hopes that it makes a difference.

  3. That should be negligence….

  4. I mean negligent. Tough day for spelling…

  5. surveyor1 says:

    I believe the bones are what caused the blockage in the first place and not what she was fed post surgery. This isn’t negligence at all! She was fed the same food they have been feeding the tigers and what is part of their diet. In this case for some reason she chew it propertly and the bones got caught in her system. Very sad, but no fault of the Zoo’s.

  6. i hope she is able to pull through and be okay. she and her brother are so cute and of such importance to the survival of this species.

  7. Traci909 says:

    I highly doubt the zoo would be negligent of these animals. It is a good zoo and they were all so delighted to find out they were having these cubs in the first place. In fact, I would put $1,000 (and I’m a total cheapskate) on the fact that at least one person spent the entire blustery night worried sick about Mali and holding her paw – not because they care about their job or money but because they care about her and the species.

  8. sunup500 says:

    There is nothing to be learned from a caged animal out of it’s natural environment. These animals roam vast jungles and are tropical. Washington is not condiussive to their health and well being. In winter they do not get the exposure to the sun, and the vital exercise needed to maintain healthy bodies.Zoos are notorious for trading these animals between them for mating and viewing, until the crowds lose interest in them. When they get old they are auctioned off to canned hunt farms to make way for the newly born. The Point Defiance Zoo has had a string of bad luck with dying animals. Maybe there should be a review on caretaking.

  9. How sad. I lost my beloved cat three weeks ago after a 28 day fight for her life, so I know this feeling. I recently took some nice pictures of the two cubs, you can see them on my website here: copy and past in your URL:

    Click on “Point Defiance Tigers”

  10. JustinD2515 says:

    @janis The bones were eaten before the surgery, not after. That was the reason for the surgery. The bones blocked the intestines.

  11. gosh, it seems PD is always having sickly animals….every time I go there I forget how sad it makes me feel to see those animals. In fact I remember they were going to make the elephant area larger with a waterfall but rather they got the tiger….hmmmmmm

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