TORONTO, ON, Monday, May 10, 2021: After a very difficult weekend of valiant efforts from the Wildlife Heath and Wildlife Care teams, we are saddened to announce that we said goodbye to one of Amur tiger cubs on Sunday, May 9, 2021.
Early in the morning on Friday, May 7, it was observed by Animal Care Staff that one of Mazy’s tiger cubs, born a week earlier, was lethargic and Mazy was seen separating this cub from the other two cubs within the den. After seeing these signs, Zoo staff made the decision to separate the weak cub from Mazy to provide the necessary medical care. Our staff Veterinarians were successful in retrieving the tiger cub and rushed it to our Wildlife Health Centre’s Intensive Care Unit. The cub, weighing 790 grams, was comatose, severely hypothermic, hypoglycemic, and severely dehydrated.
Our Veterinary team began caring for the cub around the clock. His condition remained critical on Saturday as he remained weak and hypoglycemic. Since he remained without suckling reflex, a gastric tube was used to feed him every 3 hours. His blood pressure and hydration level improved sufficiently to run blood tests, which confirmed severe liver damage and life-threatening electrolyte imbalances due to dehydration. A Veterinary Radiology Specialist conducted a full abdominal ultrasound that strongly suggested hepatitis which, in that case, was suspected to be due to a bacterial infection of the liver.
To help support the cub with being separated from his family, he was provided with a stuffed toy that had a heartbeat to provide him comfort similar to a mother tiger. This approach appeared to make a positive difference in reducing his restlessness while he received treatment.
In spite of these efforts, his condition appeared to be deteriorating on Sunday, unable to lift his head and minimally vocal, jaundiced, and developed involuntary twitching. Based on his clinical signs, imaging (radiographs and ultrasound), and bloodwork, this cub was showing signs of severe liver failure, sepsis (infection), and metabolic disturbances (unable to regulate blood glucose and electrolytes). All of these life-threatening problems combined with the lack of clinical improvement were indicating a grave prognosis. All of these are critical life-threatening conditions and, combined together, are unfortunately extremely difficult to resolve.
Later in the evening, his breathing and heart rate became slower and laboured and the team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him based on his poor prognosis and to ensure he had a peaceful end of life. A post-mortem examination was conducted and confirmed he was emaciated (no fat), had severe liver damage and was not properly digesting milk.
He fought very hard over those 48 hours and we are so proud of our entire team who heroically did everything to stabilize and improve the condition of this little male cub. Over the weekend your Zoo team had also been in contact with multiple external specialists and their expertise was invaluable.
While retrieving the one tiger cub on Friday, Vets did take the opportunity to check on the other two cubs and confirmed both are doing well. Mazy continues to be an excellent mom to the two remaining cubs and they continue to be monitored by Zoo staff. We will continue to provide updates on the health of Mazy and her cubs as they become available.
Note to media: Zoo staff are focused on the health and well-being of Mazy and her cubs and we will share updates as available. Media/photo opportunities are not available at this time.
Media Contact Information:
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The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive.
An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day including December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.
Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
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