8-month old tiger with 10 fractures being cared for at Oakland Zoo after being rescued

State wildlife officials say the cub came from a privately-owned facility.

ByJ.R. Stone KGO logo
Friday, February 23, 2024
Tiger cub with fractures rescued, being cared for at Oakland Zoo
An 8-month-old malnourished female tiger recently rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now in the care of the Oakland Zoo.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- An 8-month-old female tiger recently rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now in the care of the Oakland Zoo. The young tiger has multiple broken bones. State wildlife officials say they rescued the tiger from a privately-owned facility.

"Unfortunately, this animal has at least 10 fractures that we can diagnose, most of them are at least a month old," said Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at the Oakland Zoo.

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"Her bones are decalcified from eating an inappropriate diet. Unfortunately, she's a symbol of a whole industry where people can buy and sell a beautiful young tiger like this, keep them in inappropriate housing," said Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services at the Oakland Zoo.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife won't say where the young tiger was, who had her, or how they learned about her due to pending legal issues.

Bobbi Brink is with Lions, Tigers and Bears Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in San Diego County. She says cases like this are still very common, even after the Big Cat Public Safety Act went into effect in 2022. One that banned private ownership of big cats, including cubs as pets.

"This is not only an international problem, it's a huge problem here in the United States. They don't get the proper nutrition then they are bounced around from person to person to get their photo taken and then most times, people taking care of them don't have good intentions or not they don't know what they're doing and this is what happens," says Brink.

Officials will only say that this tiger was in a privately-owned facility in the western United States.

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Now though, she is getting the care she needs.

"The main issue right now is that her right femur is broken really close to her hip and it healed at a 60 degree abnormal angle, and it is still trying to heal because she doesn't have enough calcium to heal appropriately. Luckily, for her most of her fractures are chronic and partially healed and so we think with intervention we can get her to have a good quality of life," says Dr. Sadler.

Veterinarians are hopeful that the female tiger will make a full recovery but believe that she will likely deal with arthritis when she gets older.

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