Mali, the Female Sumatran Tiger Cub at PDZA, had Surgery on Monday

(we think this is Mali, but it's hard for us to tell her and her brother apart)
picture taken on Sept. 1, 2010
On Monday, Mali, the five-month-old female Sumatran tiger cub at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, underwent surgery to remove bone cartilage that was apparently blocking the lower end of her stomach and keeping food from reaching her intestines.  She appeared to have eaten an extra large meal on Sunday, and her meal included a bone to gnaw on.  Bones are something that tigers usually eat.

There were complications after the surgery, and she went into cardiac arrest.  She was resuscitated, but they believe she experienced some brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

She was in critical condition for a couple days after the surgery, but is now showing major improvement, and they are cautiously hopeful that she will continue to get better every day.  She is walking, standing on her hind legs, vocalizing, and eating and drinking, but she lost her sight due to the trauma her brain experienced and she still can't see.  It sounds like there is a good chance she might regain her vision in the future.

If you'd like to keep up to date regarding how Mali is doing, you can visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Acquarium's press release page at

Update on Monday, November 22, 2010:  The News Tribune has an article about Mali today--Point Defiance Tiger Continues to Improve. The description of the article reads: "A 5-month-old tiger cub continued to gain strength and improve her coordination Sunday, six days after she nearly died from a post-surgery heart attack, a Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spokeswoman said." What good news!


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