VLADIVOSTOK, February 17 (RIA Novosti) – A crippled Amur tiger that died at the weekend in Russia’s Far East despite efforts by vets to save it was killed by cancer, wildlife officials said Monday.
The tiger was found crawling across the taiga in the Amur Region in late January, malnourished and unable to move its back legs or tail. Regional officials said they were considering carrying out neurosurgery in an attempt to save the big cat after submitting it to two scans, but the animal died Saturday night.
“An autopsy revealed cancer of the kidneys and renal glands. Vets believe that this is what caused the tiger’s back legs to become paralyzed, and what led to his death,” a representative of the state-run Tiger wildlife agency told RIA Novosti.
The animal’s remains will be cremated in the national park after hunting watchdog authorities give permission.
The tiger was initially believed to have sustained a spinal cord injury while hunting a wild boar, but the Tiger spokesperson said the autopsy had eliminated that theory.
A team of international and Russian vets had said that the animal was likely in considerable pain and should be put to sleep to end its suffering, Amurpravda.ru news website said last week.
There are only about 450 Amur tigers left in the wild, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. The endangered species has been the focus of an intense conservation effort spearheaded by President Vladimir Putin.