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Anala the tiger experiencing serious health issues

The staff at Franklin Park Zoo announced today that Anala, a 17-year-old female tiger, is experiencing serious age-related heath issues.

Recently, Anala has been lethargic and has had days where she has not been interested in going into her outdoor habitat. On Sept. 21, she was examined under anesthesia so that the Zoo’s veterinary team could get a fuller picture of her health.

Since her last exam in May, her kidney values have substantially worsened and bloodwork and a kidney biopsy revealed that she is in kidney failure. At 17 years old, Anala is a geriatric cat, and unfortunately kidney issues in a cat her age are not uncommon.

“Up until recently, Anala was in very good health. We’re saddened to share the news about her current health issues. We are monitoring her closely, making sure that she is comfortable and doing everything we can to ensure that she continues to enjoy a good quality of life for as long as she can,” said Dr. Chris Bonar, Zoo New England Senior Veterinarian.

While Anala is receiving palliative care, the condition with her kidneys is chronic and irreversible. Due to her ongoing health issues, there may be days when she chooses not to go in her outdoor habitat.

“Anala is an incredible ambassador for her species, and while we know it may be disappointing to guests not to see her in her outdoor habitat every day, we appreciate everyone’s care and understanding,” said Chris Bartos, an Assistant Curator at Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo. “Anala is a favorite of guests and staff alike, and her dedicated care team is very attentive to her, making sure she is comfortable and enjoying her favorite treats.”

Anala still chooses to participate in the training program with her care team. Training, through positive reinforcement and operant conditioning, enables the staff to monitor her health more closely. During training sessions, Anala receives some of her favorite treats including beef heart and liver.

When the Tiger Tales habitat opened in 2006, it marked the first time that tigers had been exhibited at Franklin Park Zoo in 30 years. Anala, a Bengal mix, and Luther, a white tiger who passed away in 2019 due to cancer, were both confiscated as young cubs by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents during a sting operation at a wildlife sanctuary that was attempting to sell them. Franklin Park Zoo was happy to provide a home for these tigers and through their story educate the public about illegal wildlife trafficking and unethical exploitation.

The illegal wildlife trafficking trade has had a devastating effect on wild tiger populations. It is estimated that there are between 3,726 and 5,578 tigers in the wild worldwide, according to an assessment by IUCN.