VETERINARIANS in Singapore are forced to put down a rare white tiger at the national zoo to prevent it from suffering from its deteriorating health condition.
Local media reported the 17-year-old tiger called Omar had to be put down as its health took a turn for the worse.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a statement said Omar was suffering from a type of skin cancer called melanoma, which keepers and veterinarians had monitored closely.
The WRS said the cancer had developed on Omar’s eyelid and that the team had also monitored for joint degeneration.
“Recent reassessment had seen worsening of his health and the difficult decision was made to euthanise him to prevent further deterioration of his quality of life,” it said, as quoted by Channel News Asia.
Omar arrived at the zoo on April 6, 2001 when he was only 19 months old. The tiger was born in captivity in Taman Safari, Indonesia.
Channel News Asia also quoted the WRS as saying tigers in the wild lived between 10 and 15 years on average while those living in captivity could live up to 16 to 20 years on average.
“We will miss Omar, and our thoughts and appreciation go especially to his caregivers, who for so many years took such great care of him,” WRS said.
— Elizabeth Law (@lizzlaw_) 8 June 2017
Omar leaves behind two other white tigers at the zoo, a brother and sister named Pasha and Keysa.
According to the Straits Times, the three tigers made headlines in 2008 when they mauled to death a Malaysian zoo cleaner named Nordin Montong, 32.
However, authorities later ruled the incident as suicide in 2009 after finding the cleaner had deliberately entered the tiger enclosure and approached an advancing tiger.
The zoo consequently introduced safety measures following the tragedy such as installing emergency alarms and increasing patrols by zoo keepers and staff.
The three white tigers are a sub-species of the Bengal tiger – only one out of every 10,000 Bengal tigers are born without the pigment that usually makes their fur orange.
There are only 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the world. White tigers, native in South Asia, have not been seen in the wild for decades.
This story first appeared on Asian Correspondent.