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Siberian cub survives surgery in Calgary Zoo, dies

By Sara Star     Jan 14, 2011 in Health
Calgary - A cub born to a Siberian tiger at the Calgary Zoo on January 11 that underwent cardiac surgery on Thursday is fighting for its life.
Calgary Herald reports that although the cub is in stable condition, it remains in intensive care, receiving around the clock medical care. Due to the absence of sucking reflex, the cub is being tubefed.
Earlier this week, the cub was rejected by its mother, Katja, possibly after she detected the heart defect. Katja had given birth to twins last year. Both died, one from head injuries. Director of Animal Care for the Calgary Zoo, Jake Veasey commented, “It is important to understand that the early stages of any tiger’s life are a high risk both in captivity and in the wild as new mothers can make mistakes and issues such as congenital health issues can manifest.”
Video of the newborn cub can be seen here.
The pregnancy was planned as part of the Species Survival Program for Siberian tigers. There are presently 350 Siberian tigers left in the wild. Russia hosted the Tiger Summit in St Petersburg in November, in an attempt to save them from extinction. Leonard DiCaprio donated $1 million to the cause.
Siberian tigers can give birth up to seven cubs at a time. Having one cub is rare.
The zoo will also be receiving Pandas from China as part of an agreement finalized in October. Pandas have not been viewed at the Calgary Zoo for over 20 years, since 1988.
UPDATE: According to CBC, the baby cub died late Thursday night. Veterinarians performed a post-mortem examination overnight that confirmed the cub succumbed to organ failure after it was unable to absorb nutrients from the food it was given.
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