SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami is mourning the loss of a second lion cub, one of three that was born in September. In addition, zoo staff is working diligently to treat one of its Asian elephants who is gravely ill.
The lion cub, a male, was born on September 24th, along with two other cubs.
The first cub died October 11th in part due to apparent maternal neglect. The remaining two cubs, a male and female, were being hand raised by staff in hopes of getting them through the critical first months of their lives.
Last week, the remaining male cub started getting weak and trembling in his hind legs. While being examined to determine the cause, the cub went into cardiac arrest and died.
The veterinary histological reports arrived Tuesday and though they did not reflect an obvious cause of death, they did indicate a metabolic imbalance that could be a contributing factor, stated Zoo Communications and Media Relations Director Ron Magill in a news release. Muscle damage and an elevated potassium level were evident but there is no clear reason as to why they occurred and could very well be attributed to a congenital anomaly.
Unfortunately, the remaining 3 month old female cub is also displaying similar symptoms to a lesser degree and the veterinary staff is providing supportive care while carefully monitoring her to try to determine a cause.
Over in the Asian elephant area of the zoo, “Maude”, who is more than 40-years old, has displayed systems of a severe impaction of her digestive tract for the last several days. It’s resulted in no bowel movements and an almost total loss of appetite.
After consulting with some of the top veterinary experts around the country, the veterinary staff is working very closely with the elephant department keepers in trying to get Maude to pass this impaction through a variety of treatments including enemas, mineral oil, wheat bran, soft/wet browse, and electrolyte rich fluids.
Maude, who arrived at Zoo Miami in February 2011 from the Central Florida Zoo, also suffers from arthritis.
Since she’s not as mobile as she once was, this may also be contributing to the inactivity of her digestive tract. While she is being treated for this impaction, she is receiving a variety of medications to manage her discomfort which seem to be working well at this time.
The hope is that there is progress being made and that the impaction is slowly making its way out of the digestive tract but there is no way of knowing that for sure.
Treatments will continue until either the impaction has passed or Maude begins to suffer to the point where euthanasia is the only humane option.