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Hattiesburg Zoo mourns death of tiger

Cinta, one of the Hattiesburg Zoo’s five-year-old Sumatran twin tigers, passed away Sunday afternoon, May 7, from a sudden illness. His brother, Kuasa, has not shown any signs of illness and is in good health.

“We are devastated and heartbroken from the loss of one of our family. Our team is diligent in providing the best quality of care for all of our animals and are highly trained to do so. Deaths are a part of the cycle of life, and times of loss like this are never easy. Our team of animal keepers have developed a deep bond with these tigers, and we know the community has too,” Stephen Taylor, animal care manager of Hattiesburg Zoo, said.

Cinta (Shin-TA) experienced a sudden onset of not eating or drinking and became severely dehydrated earlier in the week. In addition to the Zoo’s team of animal care managers, Cinta was under the care of staff veterinarian Dr. Don Palermo, along with Dr. Kirk Frazier and Dr. Kayla Collins, who provided additional veterinary expertise.

“Cinta has been under close supervision for the last few days after becoming lethargic and showing an uncommon loss of appetite. He was severely dehydrated and required fluids intravenously. With the help of two other veterinarians on site, we administered fluids, took digital x-rays, and drew blood for analysis while under anesthesia. Despite our best efforts, Cinta’s heart stopped beating, and we were unable to revive him with medications or resuscitate him with CPR,” Dr. Palermo said.

Palermo, who has worked closely with the Hattiesburg Zoo for more than two years, is one of a handful of zoo-trained vets in the state of Mississippi and has a network with other large cat specialists. In addition to a dedicated veterinarian, the Hattiesburg Zoo has a hospital and a quarantine facility on site.

The Diagnostic Laboratory at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Science in Jackson is performing a necropsy, and pathological results will be provided in the next few weeks. More details will be released once these results become available.

Born on August 6, 2011, Kuasa and Cinta were five-year-old male Sumatran twin tigers, which is how they were able to share a habitat together at the Hattiesburg Zoo. The pair has been on permanent loan from the Los Angeles Zoo since January 2014.

“Kuasa has not shown any signs of illness, and moving forward, he will need additional stimulation from our keepers in the form of attention and enrichment. We are fully dedicated to providing a highly stimulating environment, and we know Kuasa will receive an outpouring of visitors and support from the community,” Taylor said.

Hattiesburg Zoo reached out to Los Angeles Zoo on the passing of Cinta, and the west coast Zoo sent their condolences.

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