Tiger, two lions die from poison at Indonesian zoo

August 28, 2013

An investigation is under way after authorities determined that an endangered Sumatran tiger and two African lions found dead at an Indonesia zoo died from poison, officials said Wednesday.

Peter, an 8-year-old male tiger, died in its cage Aug. 17, a week after it was found paralyzed at Taman Rimbo Zoo in Jambi province on Sumatra island, said Nurazman, an official with the local Conservation and Natural Resources Agency.

The lions—Gebo and Sonia, both around 3—were also found dead Aug. 17, said Nurazman, who like many Indonesians uses a single name. The lions had been transferred to the zoo in July from a zoo in West Java.

Nurazman said autopsies showed that the three animals died from poison. They were believed to have eaten meat tainted with a chemical used to kill rabies-infected dogs.

A 2-year-old female tiger named Ayu, an offspring of Peter, also consumed the tainted meat but survived, and is now under treatment, Nurazman said.

Zoo officials have questioned six people, including a zookeeper, over the deaths.

Lt. Col. Almansyah, a local police spokesman, said police were also investigating the case, in coordination with zoo authorities and veterinarians.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies, with only about 400 remaining in the wild. Their number has dwindled from 1,000 in the 1970s because of and poaching.

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