Two male Royal Bengal Tiger cubs, battling for life for the past six days at Patna zoo, have passed away. Their sibling had died on August 28.
The second of the three cubs born on August 2 died early on Sunday and the third around 3am on Monday. The cubs had slipped into coma six days ago after multi-organ failure.
Confirming the deaths, zoo veterinary doctor Ajit Kumar said: “All three newborn tiger cubs have died. The entire zoo family is deeply aggrieved by this loss.”
Sources said the three cubs were separated from their mother, Swarna, on August 20 after she stopped feeding them. The tigress was suffering from intestinal infection.
Experts attributed the death of the cubs to Swarna’s infection. “The tiger cubs contracted the tigress’s infection, causing their death,” said Dr Abhijit Bhawal, an expert from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Odisha. He was closely supervising the treatment of the cubs at Patna zoo.
Sources said the lung, liver, brain and few other organs of the two deceased cubs had been sent to Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, for detailed investigations.
The cubs started having convulsions after being separated from their mother. Initial investigation on the body of the first deceased cub has attributed the convulsion to lack of minerals like potassium, calcium and iron in it.
Experts claimed that the zoo authorities must take a lesson from this episode. “Since the infection was passed on to the cubs in their mother’s womb, it is clear that proper hygiene and medical care was compromised upon during Swarna’s pregnancy. This untoward incident could have been averted if the zoo authorities had prevented Swarna’s intestinal infection. The authorities should take all precautionary measures necessary at the time of pregnancy in big cats.”
Swarna was brought to Patna zoo from Hyderabad zoo in August last year under an animal exchange programme. She gave birth to three cubs on August 2.
Patna residents were grief-stricken after learning about the cubs’ death. “Most of us have seen grown-up tigers at Patna zoo but it was probably for the first time that people like me saw cubs moving in enclosures. It was after 19 years that tiny pugmarks could be seen on the zoo soil. I was eagerly waiting to see those cubs grow. I have been deprived of that joy,” said Pranav Kumar, a frequent zoo visitor.
One of the two lion cubs, born on August 15, died on August 18. The deaths come at a time when the zoo authorities have stepped up breeding activities in captivity.
Three cubs born on
August 2, 2012
Mother Swarna stops feeding trio on August 20
First male cub dies on
August 28, second on September 2 and third on September 3