Former Tulsa Zoo Tiger Cub in Critical Condition with Respiratory Issue

Courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

One of the Tulsa Zoo's former residents isn't doing so well this week after being diagnosed with a respiratory condition.

Berani was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome earlier this week. He's currently in intensive care and under sedation during his treatments for the syndrome.

Kay Backues, Tulsa Zoo Director of Animal Health and Senior Veterinarian, told Kimberly Hulsey that the condition occurs when the lungs are filled with fluids.

"In order to treat that, they are having to keep him sedated because a 60-pound, 60-plus pound, tiger cub would not allow itself to maintain an IV catheter or to get supplemental oxygen," Dr. Backues says.

Dr. Backues says Berani became lethargic, stopped eating and developed a sudden high fever. That's when the veterinarian team in Washington started treating Berani. Dr. Backues says this can happen with any animal.

The Tulsa zoo has had troubles with animals in the past and understand the Washington zoo is going through.

"It's a risk with any living thing that it could get ill they don't know exactly what happened but they are treating the symptoms they do have a good idea of what the symptoms and side affects are," Dr. Backues says.

Berani was sent to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington because he was born to a first time mother that didn't know her role. Point Defiance also had a cub about the same age who was born to a first time mother. The Tulsa Zoo felt that Point Defiance had the better facility to care for both cubs so they could learn from each other.