Berani out of hospital, in good condition

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Updated: 3/01/2013 4:16 pm Published: 3/01/2013 4:14 pm

Tulsa zoo officials say endangered Malayan tiger cub Berani is out of the hospital and in very good condition.

Berani has been released from the animal hospital at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, where veterinarians say he’s in ‘very good’ condition following a critical illness.

The 6-month-old, 74-pound tiger cub rejoined his “foster brother,” Dumai, behind the scenes this morning. The two are separated by a partition, but they greeted each other with vocal sounds.

“This is an animal who has made an astounding recovery,” head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said. “I would expect him to be back to being super playful very soon.”

Smiling veterinarians and animal care staff members at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium moved Berani from the hospital to the behind-the-scenes, off-exhibit area this morning.

He immediately went exploring, nosing around the enclosure, drinking water from buckets, interacting with his keepers and curiously checking out Dumai across the partition.

Veterinarians and zookeepers will continue to keep vigilant watch on Berani, monitoring him for any unusual gastrointestinal issues or signs of distress, Wolf said.

She believes his sudden illness was the result of enterotoxemia or toxins produced by bacteria brought about an infection that sickened the young tiger, Wolf said.

For now, Berani will remain on medicine to aid the function of his gastrointestinal tract, Wolf said. He also continues to receive antibiotics, and he’ll be on a bland diet for a few days but will be gradually introduced to his normal feeding routine.

A team of three Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium veterinarians and animal care staff members worked around the clock for four days to bring the sick cub back to health. Outside consultants also provided assistance with care.

Following emergency surgery Monday night, he was in critical condition and suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Berani will remain off exhibit for an undetermined amount of time while he continues to recover at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Berani left the Tulsa Zoo at 6 weeks old in October 2012 to be hand-reared with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s tiger cub, Dumai. This ensured that the cubs could be raised with a playmate, while learning appropriate tiger behavior from one another.

“We are thrilled to learn of Berani’s good condition and are thankful to the entire staff of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium,” said Joe Barkowski, Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science at The Tulsa Zoo. “We want to thank the community for an outpouring of support for this beloved tiger cub.”

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