Heartbreak for National Zoological Park officials in Delhi after two tiger cubs die within 10 days

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New Delhi | Published: August 30, 2018 9:51:18 AM

This comes days after the death of 25-year-old tigress Priya, the oldest tigress in the zoo, passed away due to age-related ailments.

One of the cubs cub developed liver cirrhosis and another died due to gastroenteritis.

It was a joyful Independence Day on August 15 at the National Zoological Park in New Delhi as two tiger cubs were born. However, a sense of pathos and despair loomed large after both the cubs, offsprings of White Royal Bengal Tigress Nirbhaya and yellow-striped Royal Bengal Tiger Karan, died on August 18 and August 26, according to Indian Express report. Zoo director Renu Singh has confirmed the development.

One of the cubs cub developed liver cirrhosis and another died due to gastroenteritis. “A panel of three doctors was set up and a post-mortem was conducted, which revealed the female cub developed liver cirrhosis, while the other one died of gastroenteritis,” said Singh was quoted as saying by IE. This comes days after the death of 25-year-old tigress Priya, the oldest tigress in the zoo, passed away due to age-related ailments.

The zoo had facilitated mating between three-year-old white Royal Bengal tigress and five-year-old Royal Bengal tiger. Nirbhaya gave birth to two cubs, as well as a stillborn one on the morning of August 15. “We put up CCTV cameras inside and a screen outside to monitor the activity of the cubs and the mother. There were keepers on duty all night to ensure there was no problem. The cub which died on August 26 was healthy and drinking its mother’s milk. It then suddenly passed away,” said Singh. “We expected a bigger litter and heavier cubs, but that didn’t happen. Maybe it happened because it was her first litter. I haven’t lost hope though. We will try again this year, for better genes,” Singh said.

The zoo authorities had assigned a special diet for them. Zoo officials also planned to show them to the public after a couple of months.

“If recessive genes get clubbed together, they can be fatal and cause death. Since the cubs died so young, it could be a genetic disorder. I suggest that a genetics analysis be conducted to understand the reason, as it can be helpful in the future. If the mother develops an infection during pregnancy, that too can be problematic for the cubs,” Sanjay Kumar, DIG, National Tiger Conservation Authority, said.

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