Bala, a 13-year-old Bengal tiger who had lived with her brother at Busch Gardens since 2007, died after suffering a “major injury”

By Maria Pasquini
October 31, 2019 01:52 PM
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay/Facebook

A Bengal tiger died following a fight with her brother at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the park announced earlier this week.

“We are saddened to share the loss of Bala, a 13-year old Bengal tiger. Bala has lived with her brother Bhutan at the park since 2007, receiving world-class care,” read the zoo’s post, which was shared on Tuesday.

“Known for her unique coloring, Bala was loved by her care team and the guests who visited Jungala. She will be dearly missed.”

Although the initial post didn’t include the details surrounding Bala’s death, while responding to several comments from concerned animal lovers, Busch Gardens elaborated on what happened.

“Bala incurred a major injury from an atypical interaction with her brother and was transported to the park’s Animal Care Center for emergency care,” read one reply from the park. “Despite the veterinarians’ best efforts, her wounds were too great and she was humanely euthanized. A full necropsy is underway and the team will know more about her passing once test results have been received.”

Bala and her brother were born at the Texas Zoo and moved to Tampa in 2007, according to CNN.

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Busch Gardens went on to share that although wild tigers are “solitary and territorial,” Bala and Bhutan had lived together for 12 years without exhibiting that kind of behavior.

“Disputes between tigers competing for breeding or hunting grounds are common, especially with human activity depleting their native habitats,” the park wrote on Facebook, adding that “this situation is the first occurrence of a fatal injury between tigers in the park’s history.”

In 2018, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay received the Humane Certified seal from the American Humane Conversation program, joining a short list of U.S. institutions with the seal.

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Bala’s death comes a month after the park announced the death of another animal.

“We are saddened to share the passing of Sim Sim, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s oldest male gorilla,” the park announced in September of the gorilla, who had lived at the park since 1992.