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Royal Bengal tiger in national park succumbs to cancer

Yash was operated for cancer twice over the past one year. First in August 2018, when a 150-gm tumour was removed from the left side of the lower limb.

mumbai Updated: May 30, 2019 13:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mumbai
royal bengal riger,national park,cancer
The male tiger Yash.(HT Photo)

A 12-year-old Royal Bengal tiger, named Yash, succumbed to cancer at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Tuesday.

The male tiger, which was suffering from an embryonal-type rhabdomyosarcoma — a soft tissue muscular tumour which affects skeletal muscles — died owing to multiple organ failure and loss of weight, according to an autopsy done by Mumbai Veterinary College (MVC) on Wednesday.

The tiger’s body was cremated after the autopsy.

“Yash succumbed to cancer-related complications such as progressive cachexia — loss of skeletal muscle mass leading to functional impairment or severely deteriorated body condition,” said Anwar Ahmed, director and chief conservator of forest, SGNP. “It is a huge loss to the park but at least the animal will not suffer anymore,” Ahmed said.

Yash was operated for cancer twice over the past one year. First in August 2018, when a 150-gm tumour was removed from the left side of the lower limb.

Subsequently, veterinarians observed a recurrence in the tumour, which grew to 400 grams.

In March, Yash was operated again by a team of experts from MVC and SGNP, after they removed a tumour called granuloma from his face.

“After the second operation, Yash underwent continuous weight loss and was eating less than 10% of what he usually ate,” said Dr Shailesh Pethe, senior veterinarian, SGNP.

“On further investigation, experts from MVC diagnosed the rare form of cancer, which is genetic in nature, and it can express its fatality at a specific age and time,”DrPethe said.

Yash was born at SGNP in 2008 to Palash and Basanti. His siblings Anand and Laxmi are part of the parks’ safari.

Palash died at the age of 16 in October 2016. Basanti, who is now 17 years old, is the oldest tiger at the park.

On May 3, SGNP lost its last captive white tiger due to age-related complications. Now, there are five Royal Bengal tigers left at the park – four female and one male. The average lifespan of tigers in captivity is between 14 and 16, according to veterinarians.

First Published: May 30, 2019 02:50 IST