For Release: November 8, 2004
Contact: Peper Long (202) 673-0206 or (202) 391-2471
National Zoo Euthanizes Tiger
National Zoo staff euthanized an elderly female Sumatran tiger this morning.
Zoo veterinarians had been treating Kerinci, named after an active Sumatran volcano, for chronic hind limb ataxia, a neuromuscular condition she developed following a spinal cord injury in February 1997.
Although Kerinci had responded successfully to steroid treatment for several years, she experienced increased difficulty walking for the past few weeks. Zoo staff decided to euthanize her based on her declining quality of life.
Other possible conditions will not be known until all pathology tests are completed in the next few months.
Found in 1984 as a cub in the wild, Kerinci was a gift from Indonesia's Jakarta Zoo. Having been born in the wild, she was a valuable contributor to the genetic diversity of captive-bred Sumatran tigers. She has had seven cubs, including Soyono, the mother of the National Zoo's three male tiger cubs born in May 2004.
Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered subspecies, found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in a lowland and mountain forest habitat. Fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers are believed to exist in the wild and approximately 200 live in zoos around the world. Sumatran tigers are the smallest tiger subspecies, weighing between 200 and 300 pounds when full-grown.The National Zoo now has six Sumatran tigersone female and five males.
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