Ailing tiger, 20, may have cancer
Lingling, the oldest Chinese Tiger in captivity, is suspected to have cancer,
said a zoologist in Guiyang, capital of southwest Guizhou Province, earlier this
The tigress, approaching 20 years old, was found at the end of 2003 to
have a suppurating intumescence on her right eye. A recent examination showed
that the tigress is developing a tumor, which is probably malign, according to
veterinarian Zhang Lingli, deputy manager of the Qianling Zoo.
first diagnosed with a benign tumor in her saliva glands in October 2001 and
underwent surgery. Another tumor was found five months later, which caused
vomiting and bleeding.
Ma Hong, a surgeon from the Hospital of the Guiyang
Medical College, said the second tumor was probably malign.
Ma operated on
Lingling with four colleagues in April 2002 to remove her second
Further examination, however, is needed to decide whether the new
tumor is malign and can be removed, veterinarian Zhang said.
Tiger (panthera tigris amoyensis), from which other sub-species such as the
Siberian Tiger evolved, is a critically endangered tiger sub-species native to
It is listed as one of the world's 10 most endangered
At present, fewer than 30 Chinese Tigers remain in the wild while
about 60 survive in Chinese zoos. It is estimated that they would disappear by
2010 if they are not well protected.
Lingling was born in May 1985 at a zoo
in Shanghai and was moved to the zoo in Guiyang later the same year.
a wild Chinese Tiger can live 13 years at most. One living in captivity can
enjoy a longer life of around 20 years.
Lingling, however, is childless.
Zhang said that the tigress was once "married" to a Chinese Tiger from a zoo
at Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, but their six-year marriage ended fruitless when
Lingling's mate died in the early 1990s.
Continued illness has left Lingling
weighing only 90 kilograms.
The tigress weighed 150 kilograms before she got
sick, according to Hou Guangli, a zookeeper who began to take care of Lingling