BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo releases final report on young Malayan tiger's death

BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo releases final report on young Malayan tiger's death

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The final report on a young tiger's death at the BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo was released Thursday.

While the official cause of death is still unknown, it's "highly suspected" that gastric dilatation is what killed the animal.

"Gastric dilatation is what we initially suspected as the cause of death based on the video footage we had from her den, but we couldn't say that conclusively without further testing," said Dr. Gordon Pirie, the zoo's veterinarian.

Officials said the results were based off of clinical observations and abnormalities found in the tiger's stomach lining.

Gastric dilatation is commonly found in dogs or other animals with large chests. The unpreventable condition results in bloating of the stomach and damage to the cardiovascular system.

The juvenile Malayan tiger named Hadiah died on Wednesday, April 13 some time after she and the other tigers returned to their dens for the evening.

On a mobile device? Click the link to see the slideshow of the two Malayan tigers, Hadiah and Kayu Merah, when they were cubs in November 2014 -

A zoo camera inside the tiger's den allowed the veterinary staff to see 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 when the tiger's death was first reported. "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."

A necropsy was performed by the Louisiana Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. During which, Officials say 28 tests were performed and all came back negative for any diseases, toxins, or pathogens.

After the tiger's death, the zoo called on two federal organizations, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), to conduct inspections, which have been concluded.

The tiger was just one of 18 animals that died at the facility this year alone, eight of which were large mammals.

A closer look at the necropsy reports for those animals though revealed no wrongdoing or neglect leading to the deaths.

At the end of April, zoo staff said the results of the inspections done by the USDA and AZA are expected to be released within the next few weeks.

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