BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Almost two years after it was born, one of two juvenile Malayan tigers at BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo has died.
The tiger female named Hadiah died Wednesday evening from unknown causes. She and her sibling, Kayu Merah, were born on July 29, 2014
On a mobile device? Click the link to see the slideshow of the tigers when they were cubs in November 2014 - http://bit.ly/1NthfjL
Zoo staff reported that Hadiah was acting normal when the tigers returned to their dens for the night as the zoo closed.
"This death was much unexpected," said Dr. Gordon Pirie, Zoo Veterinarian. "Just earlier that afternoon, we were performing routine rounds with a LSU veterinary intern and she appeared to be exhibiting normal behavior and in great health."
Because of the zoo's camera inside the tiger's den, zoo veterinary staff were able to look at the tiger's behavior before its death. Officials say the footage showed Hadiah entering the den and resting for a bit before obviously appearing distressed. They say she died about 15 minutes later.
"The video footage did show signs of abdominal distress shortly before her death," said Pirie. "That could be attributed to gastric dilatation, which can be acute and is often fatal, but that is a clinical observation only as viewed from the video."
The zoo contacted the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after the death to perform to perform a full inspection.
"This is obviously heartbreaking for all the staff at the Zoo, and we know we have many out there who have watched her since birth and are also feeling this loss," said Phil Frost, Zoo Director. "Our veterinary and keeper staff provide the best quality of care for our animals possible, but deaths do happen, and unfortunately we've had a rough spring. By inviting the USDA to come in for a voluntary inspection, we're hoping to assure our supporters that everything that can be done for the care and well-being of our animals is being done on a daily basis."
Officials hope for the final results of what caused Hadiah's death in the next few weeks. A necropsy was performed by the Louisiana Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.