Berani The Tiger Cub

Photo courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


February 1, 2013


Endangered Malayan tiger cub Berani was released from the animal hospital at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where veterinarians say he’s in ‘very good’ condition following a critical illness.


The 6-month-old, 74-pound tiger cub rejoined his “foster brother,” Dumai, behind the scenes this morning. The two are separated by a partition, but they greeted each other with vocal sounds.

“This is an animal who has made an astounding recovery,” head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said. “I would expect him to be back to being super playful very soon.”

Smiling veterinarians and animal care staff members at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium moved Berani from the hospital to the behind-the-scenes, off-exhibit area this morning.

He immediately went exploring, nosing around the enclosure, drinking water from buckets, interacting with his keepers and curiously checking out Dumai across the partition.

Veterinarians and zookeepers will continue to keep vigilant watch on Berani, monitoring him for any unusual gastrointestinal issues or signs of distress, Wolf said.

She believes his sudden illness was the result of enterotoxemia or toxins produced by bacteria brought about an infection that sickened the young tiger, Wolf said.

For now, Berani will remain on medicine to aid the function of his gastrointestinal tract, Wolf said.  He also continues to receive antibiotics, and he’ll be on a bland diet for a few days but will be gradually introduced to his normal feeding routine.

A team of three Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium veterinarians and animal care staff members worked around the clock for four days to bring the sick cub back to health.  Outside consultants also provided assistance with care.

Following emergency surgery Monday night, he was in critical condition and suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Berani will remain off exhibit for an undetermined amount of time while he continues to recover at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Berani left the Tulsa Zoo at 6 weeks old in October 2012 to be hand-reared with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s tiger cub, Dumai. This ensured that the cubs could be raised with a playmate, while learning appropriate tiger behavior from one another.

“We are thrilled to learn of Berani’s good condition and are thankful to the entire staff of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium,” said Joe Barkowski, Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science at The Tulsa Zoo. “We want to thank the community for an outpouring of support for this beloved tiger cub.”



February 28, 2013


Malayan tiger Berani is showing “slight improvement” at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as veterinarians and animal care staff maintain round-the-clock-care for the 6-month-old cub who suddenly fell ill  on Monday.

His vital signs are stable, he continues to receive oxygen therapy and remains sedated, zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.

The cub, who weighs about 75 pounds, is now receiving nutrition through a tube, she said.

The team of veterinarians is continuing diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of his illness. Diagnostic results are pointing to some type of infectious process, Goodrowe Beck said.

Zoo staff members are grateful for and appreciative of the outpouring of well-wishes from the community, she added.




February 27, 2013

Berani, the Malayan tiger cub born at the Tulsa Zoo in August 2012, remains in guarded condition at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium today as a team of veterinarians works to uncover the cause of his sudden illness.

Veterinarians continue extensive diagnostic testing in their ongoing effort to pin down what caused 6-month-old Berani to fall ill Monday afternoon, zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.

Berani remains sedated as the veterinary team, led by head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf, works to keep him comfortable, treat him for breathing difficulties and regulate his temperature.  Members of the zoological staff, who care for the zoo’s five tigers, also are keeping round-the-clock watch over the cub, Goodrowe Beck said.

“We continue to be very concerned,” she added. “We are doing everything possible to care for Berani, who is very precious to us. He is an ambassador for an endangered species that is vanishing from the wild at an alarming rate.”

Berani underwent emergency surgery Monday night to determine whether he had an intestinal blockage. No obstruction was uncovered, and the veterinary team now is investigating the possibility of an infectious process, Goodrowe Beck said.

Berani’s  “foster brother,” 6-month-old Sumatran tiger  Dumai, is healthy and shows no sign of illness. The two cubs are being raised together.

“We very much appreciate the community’s support and compassion, not only for Berani, but also for our staff,” Goodrowe Beck said.




February 26, 2013

The Tulsa Zoo is saddened to learn that the tiger cub, Berani, sent to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in October 2012, is in poor but stable condition today following emergency surgery Monday night.

The 6-month-old tiger is in “acute respiratory distress,” and is sedated, said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck. He is receiving intensive care from a team of zoo veterinarians, with consultation from outside veterinary specialists.

The cause of his initial illness is undetermined, and the veterinary team is working to determine what caused him to fall ill.

Berani became lethargic, would not eat and developed a sudden high fever Monday afternoon, Goodrowe Beck said.

Zookeepers immediately called zoo veterinarians, who took X-rays and performed an ultrasound, checking for a possible intestinal blockage.

“To be cautious, the veterinary team performed an exploratory surgery late Monday,” Goodrowe Beck said.

“There was no blockage, but his gastrointestinal tract appears to be very, very irritated,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf. “We believe there may be an infectious process going on, but we’re still investigating the root cause of his illness. Following surgery, he developed acute respiratory distress, and we are keeping him sedated and on oxygen therapy.”

“Our veterinary and zoological staff are working around the clock to care for Berani,” Goodrowe Beck said.

Four veterinarians, a veterinary technician and multiple other staff members, attended the 74-pound cub through the surgery. Staff kept watch and cared for him through the night.

Berani, born Aug. 26 of last year, was sent to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium from The Tulsa Zoo in October to be raised with Dumai, a Sumatran tiger cub born just four days before Berani.

Both cubs were single births. Neither was thriving, and each needed hand-rearing to ensure adequate nutrition. A mother who is inattentive or lacks adequate milk is not an uncommon occurrence with single-cub litters, said Goodrowe Beck, who also is coordinator of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® for Sumatran tigers.

Species Survival Plan® officials for both Malayan and Sumatran tigers determined it would be best for the cubs to be raised together, so they could learn tiger behaviors from each other.

“We are saddened by the news of Berani’s sudden health decline, but we are confident that he is receiving the best veterinary care at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s state-of-the-art veterinary facility,” said Joe Barkowski, Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science at The Tulsa Zoo. “We care for Berani as he is one of our own and our thoughts are with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during this time.”

The Tulsa Zoo will continue to stay updated on Berani’s condition and hopes the beloved tiger cub will make a full recovery.