It’s a sad time at the Hattiesburg Zoo in Mississippi.
On Monday, staff at the small zoo announced one of their twin Sumatran tigers, Cinta, passed away on Sunday afternoon from a sudden illness.
“We are devastated and heartbroken from the loss of one of our family,” Stephen Taylor, the zoo’s animal care manager, said in a statement. “Our team is diligent in providing the best quality for all of our animals and are highly trained to do so. Deaths are a part of the cycle of life, and times of loss like this are never easy. Our team of animal keepers have developed a deep bond with these tigers, and we know the community has too.”
Keepers became concerned early last week when Cinta stopped eating and drinking and became severely dehydrated. Unfortunately, the tiger’s health continued to decline from there.
“Cinta has been under close supervision for the last few days after becoming lethargic and showing an uncommon loss of appetite,” Dr. Don Palermo, the staff veterinarian caring for Cinta, said. “He was severely dehydrated and required fluids intravenously. With the help of two other veterinarians on site, we administered fluids, took digital X-rays and drew blood for analysis while under anesthesia. Despite our best efforts, Cinta’s heart stopped beating, and we were unable to revive him with medications or resuscitate him with CPR.”
The Diagnostic Laboratory at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary is performing a necropsy to find what caused Cinta’s sudden death, and is expected to have answers in several weeks.
Kusa, Cinta’s twin brother, has shown no signs of illness, but is under close watch by zoo veterinarians. He and Cinta, both 5 years old, were born at Los Angeles Zoo in 2011 and were loaned to the Hattiesburg Zoo in 2014.
Sumatran tigers, which can live 20 to 25 years, are classified as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. It is estimated that fewer than 400 exist around the world today.