Tiger found roaming in village dies from virus infection

 ‘Awang Besul’ was found with injuries to its legs and an eye infection and was dehydrated when caught on Friday. (Instagram pic)

IPOH: The male tiger caught by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) after being seen wandering at Kampung Besul Lama in Bukit Besi, Terengganu, last Friday, died today of canine distemper.

Perhilitan said the Malayan Tiger known as Awang Besul was confirmed dead by the department’s veterinary doctor at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai here at about 5.30am despite efforts to save it.

When caught on Friday, the tiger had injuries to its legs and an eye infection. It was also dehydrated.

“The tiger also displayed unusual clinical neurology signs such as non-aggressiveness, turning in one direction when walking, seizures and clinical signs of respiratory tract infection such as nasal discharge,” Perhilitan said in a statement.

It said the virology results received yesterday confirmed that Awang Besul tested positive for the canine distemper virus. A post mortem will be conducted soon.

Canine distemper is caused by a virus which attacks domestic animals and wildlife.

The statement said if tigers are affected by this disease, they will appear unafraid of humans. The probability of recovery is also slim.

Perhilitan said it did not rule out the possibility the disease was spread by wild animals around the village.

Awang Besul, thought to be five years old, was caught after being shot with a tranquilliser dart and was quarantined. It was resting in bushes about 500m from the main road.