6th big cat dies at North Texas animal sanctuary

In this Thursday, July 25, 2013 photo, Kazuri, a 10-year-old male Bengal tiger suffering from distemper, is calmed in a pen before a blood draw at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie, Texas. The center's spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Kazuri died Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. Canine distemper, a very rare disease to strike felines, has killed and sickened several big cats at the well respected animal sanctuary. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

August 12, 2013 10:42:33 AM PDT
A sixth big cat has died in a canine distemper outbreak at a Dallas-area wildlife sanctuary.

Officials with In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie say a nearly 10-year-old male Bengal tiger named Kazuri died Sunday. Sanctuary spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Monday that 16 other exotic cats have the disease.

It's the second death this month of an exotic cat at the refuge about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. A 13-year-old female Bengal tiger named Lucca died last Thursday. Williams says Lucca was so sick that she had to be euthanized.

Four lions and tigers died in July at the facility as veterinarians work to stem the outbreak. Symptoms range from runny noses to seizures.

Experts have said they believe the canine distemper was transmitted by wild raccoons.

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