Zoo says goodbye to Jaka the tiger
Auckland Zoo’s Sumatran tiger Jaka has been put down after vets found a large inoperable tumour in his intestine.
Auckland Zoo senior vet manager James Chatterton said the 17-year-old tiger had been unwell for the past few weeks, sparking concern.
Keepers noticed Jaka had been losing weight despite having an increased appetite, and blood tests taken last week showed abnormalities, he said.
Veterinary Services Group radiologists joined zoo vets to carry out an ultrasound of Jaka’s abdomen on Friday morning, revealing the tumour.
The tumour had begun to spread throughout his body and there was no treatment that could have helped, Chatterton said.
‘‘Euthanising Jaka was absolutely the kindest and only right thing to do.’’
Auckland Zoo’s carnivore team leader Lauren Booth said Jaka was a ‘‘very relaxed’’ tiger, who was ‘‘very vocal, extremely curious and very motivated by food’’.
In August 2015, zoo vets put the 126kg cat under general anaesthetic to determine the cause of a sore paw.
Vets found Jaka had a bone lesion, similar to arthritis in an ‘‘older gentleman,’’ Chatterton said at the time.
Jaka was born in 2000 and came to Auckland Zoo in 2013.
Jaka was sedated for a check-up in 2015 after he started limping and vets found he had a cracked paw and bone lesion, similar to arthritis.