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A lease of life for doomed Amur tiger

February 10, 2014, 17:05 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK
Russian veterinarians at a far eastern safari park have distanced themselves from the verdict of international colleagues
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VLADIVOSTOK, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian veterinarians at a far eastern safari park have distanced themselves from the verdict of international colleagues who decided an injured Amur tiger would better be put to sleep to avoid further suffering.

They've distanced themselves from the sad conclusion of eight foreign experts from Europe and the United States relayed to Primorsky safarfi park that repairing his injured back legs was impossible.

Putting the massive male down was the kindest solution, they agreed, park director Dmitry Mezentsev reported on Monday from a reserve working alongside the Euro-Asian Association of Zoos and Aquaria programme to encourage the tigers to breed.

Not so, decided the Russian vets. For while they accepted that the tiger would never recuperate fully to get back to nature in the wild, there was a chance to improve his condition and render a few more years of life in captivity to the five- to six-year-old.

The verdict from abroad came in submissions sent to the park based on medical records and video material on the animal's condition after it was brought to the park last Thursday for treatment - and destined, the park managers thought, for a 30-square-metre open-air enclosure.

Not so, decided the tiger, at first refusing to leave the cage in which it was brought there, under sedation. Signs of activity became evident a few days ago, though, the park says. The tiger has been tempted out to eat although its hind paws and tail remain paralysed, and blood samples and a CT scan have revealed no infectious diseases, bone fractures or spinal injuries.

The park's new guest is from a dwindling number of around 450 animals on the world's Red Book of Endangered Species. About 95 percent of them live in Primorye and in the south of the Khabarovsk region, also in Russia’s Far East. Their rare appearances in the Amur region are limited to the occasions they roam the land for food.

Primorsky's safari park was opened in the Shkotovsky district seven years ago. Animals and birds live in enclosed taiga territory, most of them sick or injured.

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