An Amur tiger named Reka passed away at Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning.
"As you can imagine, staff at the zoo are devastated," said Tim Sinclair-Smith, Director of Zoological Operations for the zoo. "Reka was such a celebrated addition to the zoo and was one of the crowd favourites… he will be missed and we’re doing everything possible to ensure the health of our other animals and to provide support for our staff."
Zoo staff began monitoring Reka on Sunday as he was appearing lethargic, had a reduced appetite and showed a discharge from the eyes. Reka was scheduled for a full exam and diagnostics this morning, however he stopped breathing shortly after being tranquilized for the exam and went into cardiac arrest, passing away at approximately 9:55 a.m.
"It’s too early to make a definitive diagnosis but all indications at this time would point towards the presence of some form of infectious disease," said Dr. Chris Enright, Head of Veterinary Services for the zoo. "This obviously gives us concern for our other animals so the tigers have been quarantined until we have definitive answers on what led to Reka’s death."
An interim report will be done on Reka’s condition within the next 48 hours, with a definitive report on the cause of death, including virology and other diagnostic results, prepared in the next 10-14 days.
Reka is one of two Amur Tigers born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo on July 29 of 2011.