TACOMA — Jaya, a 13-year-old female Sumatran tiger at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, is critically ill and stopped eating Monday, the zoo announced Wednesday.
“We are very concerned about Jaya,” said zoo head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf. “Her liver and gastrointestinal tract aren’t functioning correctly and we are treating her for an aggressive bacterial infection.”
Jaya’s liver and gastrointestinal tract are inflamed, the zoo said.
In order to ensure Jaya receives the necessary oral medication, fluids and nutrients, Wolf said, the mother of four litters needed to be anesthetized on Tuesday and remains in a medically-induced state of immobilization.
Jaya showed signs of illness last week and underwent anesthesia, when the zoo veterinary team learned of the disease in her liver. After she stopped eating, a further examination revealed a bacterial infection, the zoo said.
“When cats stop eating and aren’t very responsive, we know something is very wrong,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, the zoo’s general curator. “Our veterinary and zoological staff are providing round-the-clock care for Jaya and consulting with veterinary experts during this critical time.”
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered. In 2004, Jaya and her sister Suriya were the first of the species to arrive at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Today, the zoo is home to six Sumatran tigers, including Jaya’s most recent litter of triplets – Kirana, Indah, and Dari – born in 2014.
Only about 300 tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. There are about 70 in North American zoos.