White tiger cub found in garbage in Greece euthanized

Greece zoo fights to save white tiger cub found in garbage
The white tiger cub is being prepared for a CT scan at a clinic in Athens, Greece, March 15, 2023, credit: Reuters/Stelios Misinas

The white tiger cub, who was found abandoned in a garbage bin outside the Attica Zoological Park in Greece, was euthanized on Monday. She was found on February 28, and after six weeks of constant care, veterinarians decided to end her suffering.

She passed away despite the best efforts of veterinarians and caretakers to save her life. The zoo said in a Facebook statement that the cub had been suffering from severe health problems, including an incurable painful genetic condition. “Our people, vets and caretakers, were by her side at every moment with much love,” the zoo added.

When she was found, she was dirty, thin, and dehydrated. Zoo founder Jean-Jacques Lesueur said he had never seen an animal look that bad. He told local media that her condition was “obviously the act of an unethical person, who, after illegally acquiring the white cub, decided to get rid of her because of her disability.”


Veterinarians discovered the three-month-old female cub, who was named Hasija at the zoo, was suffering from metabolic bone disease, a common and severe problem affecting animals in the illegal wildlife trade. 

The cub had likely been fed an improper diet, leading to severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies and extremely fragile bones. 

Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union, estimates that the illegal wildlife trade is a billion-euro business in Europe, with endangered exotic animals originating from Asia and Africa being sold to buyers across the continent. 

Lesueur emphasized the importance of tackling the demand side of the illegal trade, stating, “As long as there are buyers, there will be sellers.”

The zoo had planned to move Hasija to a sanctuary if she would have survived. Several international animal welfare organizations had already offered to help find a suitable place.

   

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