Berani, an endangered Malayan tiger cub at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, is in poor but stable condition following emergency surgery Monday night.
The Zoo says the 6-month-old tiger is in “acute respiratory distress,” and is sedated. He is receiving intensive care from a team of zoo veterinarians, with consultation from outside veterinary specialists.
Berani became lethargic, would not eat and developed a sudden high fever Monday afternoon, said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck
Zookeepers immediately called zoo veterinarians, who took X-rays and performed an ultrasound, checking for a possible intestinal blockage.
“To be cautious, the veterinary team performed an exploratory surgery late Monday,” said Goodrowe Beck.
Four veterinarians, a veterinary technician and multiple other staff members, attended the 74-pound cub through the surgery. Staff kept watch and cared for him through the night.
“There was no blockage, but his gastrointestinal tract appears to be very, very irritated,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf. “We believe there may be an infectious process going on, but we’re still investigating the root cause of his illness. Following surgery, he developed acute respiratory distress, and we are keeping him sedated and on oxygen therapy.”
“Our veterinary and zoological staff are working around the clock to care for Berani,” Goodrowe Beck said.
Berani, born Aug. 26 of last year, came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium from The Tulsa Zoo in October to be raised with Dumai, a Sumatran tiger cub born just four days before Berani.
Both cubs were single births. Neither was thriving, and each needed hand-rearing to ensure adequate nutrition.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff members are in close contact with officials at The Tulsa Zoo to keep them informed about Berani’s condition and care.
“We are saddened by the news of Berani’s sudden health decline, but we are confident that he is receiving the best veterinary care at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s state-of-the-art veterinary facility,” said Joe Barkowski, Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science at The Tulsa Zoo. “We care for Berani as he is one of our own and our thoughts are with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during this time.”