13-Year-Old Tiger Dies at Busch Gardens After Suffering 'Major Injury'
It’s hard enough to cope when we lose our own pets, but when well-known animals experience unforeseen circumstances and pass away in their prime, it’s a different sort of sad — lots of people grieve together.
Bala and Bhutan are two Bengal tigers that lived together at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Brother and sister, the striking felines were known far and wide as stately inhabitants at the park.
While they were related and seemingly got along well for years, something changed recently and the two began fighting.
The result was that Bala was so badly wounded that veterinarians determined that the best thing to do would be to let her pass on as peacefully as possible.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay made the sad announcement to the public, posting the news on its Facebook page on Oct. 29.
“We are saddened to share the loss of Bala, a 13-year old Bengal tiger,” the park’s post read. “Bala has lived with her brother Bhutan at the park since 2007, receiving world-class care.”
“Known for her unique coloring, Bala was loved by her care team and the guests who visited Jungala. She will be dearly missed.”
Responding to reader comments, the park clarified that Bala’s injury was caused by an altercation with her brother.
“Bala incurred a major injury from an atypical interaction with her brother and was transported to the park’s Animal Care Center for emergency care,” the park posted. “Despite the veterinarians’ best efforts, her wounds were too great and she was humanely euthanized. A full necropsy is underway and the team will know more about her passing once test results have been received.”
“Disputes between tigers competing for breeding or hunting grounds are common, especially with human activity depleting their native habitats.”
The park added that “this situation is the first occurrence of a fatal injury between tigers in the park’s history,” according to People.
Plenty of readers chimed in with their condolences, sharing photos and video of the regal animal and saying how sorry they were to hear of her passing.
“My deepest condolences to the ones who have cared for Bala all these years,” one reader wrote. “She was loved and will be missed.”
“A few years back and she made me nearly cry, she sat the other side of the glass, just inches away and we studied each other for around 15 minutes before she got bored, yawned and stalked off,” another wrote. “It was amazing. [S]o sad for the loss.”
“So sorry for your loss,” a third wrote. “It must be very difficult for the staff. We were just there a few weeks ago. We love the park and you can see how great the animals are taken care of.”
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