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Tiger cub still in critical condition

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Nov. 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm with 8 Comments »
November 17, 2010 1:32 pm

The latest on Mali’s condition from Point Defiance zoo:

Female tiger cub at Point Defiance Zoo remains in critical condition two days after surgery

Tacoma, Wash. – Mali, one of two endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, is showing signs of improvement but remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery on Monday.

Zoo head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf upgraded her prognosis from “grim” to “grave” but cautioned that the five-month-old cub is still very sick. “Mali is making steady progress but we’re still very much in a wait-and-see mode,” she said.

Mali is waking up for short amounts of time, responding to light and eating small amounts of soft cat food, according to Wolf. Her vital signs also have returned to normal.

The female cub underwent surgery on Monday after keepers noticed she was lethargic and looked uncomfortable. Upon examination, zoo veterinarians found her stomach to be taut and distended. X-rays suggested a blockage somewhere in her gastrointestinal tract. Zoo veterinarians performed exploratory surgery and found several pieces of cartilage from a large bone blocking food from reaching her intestines. Bones are a normal part of a tiger’s diet, said Wolf.

Mali experienced complications following her surgery, went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated. Zoo veterinarians believe she experienced some brain damage due to low oxygen levels.

Zoo veterinarians have been consulting with emergency veterinarians and neurologists about Mali’s case and treatment options. They are continuing to monitor and evaluate her around-the-clock and provide physical therapy every two hours, said Wolf.

Wolf thanked the community for the outpouring of support that zoo staff have received since Mali became ill. “It’s been a tough few days but we remain hopeful that Mali will pull through,” she said.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. I’m praying for Mali.

    I got some nice pictures of the Tiger family on my website:


    Click on “Point Defiance Tigers”

  2. Jack54,
    Thanks for sharing your photos.
    Breathtaking! Looks fresh out of National Geo!
    We sure hope she’ll be okay.

  3. bobbysangelwife says:

    poor kitty. :( I’m not familiar with the diet of such a young cat like a tiger, but wouldn’t a diet that included bones be a no-no until their little bodies matured a bit more?? I’m just curious because a 5 month old tiger kitten’s (or whatever they’re called) can’t be too far advanced compared to an adolescent or adult cat….hmmm.
    They’re so dang adorable, it would be shame if this little one didn’t make it before I get to the Zoo to see them both. :(

  4. webman888 says:

    Zoo veterinarians believe she experienced some brain damage due to low oxygen levels.

    Humans messing with the natural order again = FAIL!

  5. m9078jk3 says:

    I too pray for that extremely rare Sumatran Tiger cub (Mali) and wish it the best to survive and have a long and fertile life to save their species.

    If anyone from the Zoo can read what I say here I have a question.
    Does the Zoo have or need to have a African Lion?.
    Although not quite as rare or as endangered there is quite a bit of hunting (killing) of the males (sometimes females) of the species (usually trophy hunts).Sometimes even poaching too.Can we save one of these animals (estimated only 20,000 left in the world) for the public to enjoy rather than see it’s life wasted (killed) for a trophy?
    Any Zoo,city officials or representatives interested in saving the life of another rare species.See this here.What a waste.There are many other ones as well.
    What can be done about this ?
    Can the animal be tranquilized (hunted peacefully) and transported here instead.Help save the life of a rare felid.

  6. exSlacker says:

    @webman888 – if they had not “messed with the natural order” she would certainly be dead. She had bones blocking her digestive tract. Does this happen in the wild? I’m sure it does…and I’m sure those cubs die in the wild. However, with an endangered species such as the Sumatran Tiger, you don’t just let that happen. EVERY cub is invaluable when the total wild population is estimated at LESS THAN 500! Let’s applaud the zoo’s breeding efforts to restore this wonderful creature’s numbers as well as their efforts to save this cub rather than criticize them for…for what?…for complications in a needed surgery?

  7. exSlacker says:

    @m9078jk3 – PDZ has a “theme”…it’s Ring of Fire/SE Asia…so an African Lion isn’t a good fit. Portland and Woodland Zoo in Seattle might be though.

  8. How come no updated news on Mali?

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