The ailing Royal Bengal Tiger that had been languishing in a cramped cage in the Alipore zoo has been shifted to a bigger one to allow unrestricted movement after an X-ray revealed it was suffering from infective osteoarthritis.
According to zoo veterinarian D.N. Banerjee, a festering wound on the left hind leg of the big cat (file picture above) had damaged its hip joint, rendering it almost immobile. “The wound was left unattended for too long and it started affecting the bones in the posterior region,” said Banerjee.
Caught between two sets of officials squabbling over protocol, a small, dark room was the tiger’s abode for almost three months after being brought to the zoo from the Sunderbans for treatment. Metro had highlighted the tiger’s plight earlier this month. Within days, the consent to anaesthetise the tiger — which had held up its treatment — appeared and a medical board was put together.
The tiger’s new home has an open-air lawn where it can move around. If it wants to take a nap, it can retire to the adjoining night shelter. All this is away from the public eye as the zoo authorities are treating the tiger as a “patient”.
“In addition to giving the tiger medication, we have shifted it to an enclosure inside the zoo for free movement so that its other joints are affected because of lack of movement,” said zoo director K.L. Ghosh.
During treatment, the tiger would be on a daily diet of beef. The medical board would assess its health in the first week of December.
Forest department sources said that while there was no threat to the tiger’s life, it might never be able to go back to the wild again. “In the wild, the tiger will have to hunt for food which would not be possible given its condition,” said an official.