KUALA TERENGGANU: A male tiger which was caught by Malaysian authorities in the state of Terengganu died on Tuesday (Jun 23) due to canine distemper virus.
The five-year-old animal, known as Awang Besul, died at about 5.30am despite efforts to treat it, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) said in a statement.
The 130kg creature was captured last Friday after two wild tigers were spotted wandering about near Kampung Besul Lama in the town of Bukit Besi. The search is ongoing for the remaining tiger, officials said.
PERHILITAN said Awang Besul was found with an eye infection and injuries to its legs. It was also dehydrated when it was captured.
“The tiger also displayed unusual clinical neurology signs such as non-aggressiveness, turning in one direction when walking, seizures and clinical signs of the respiratory tract infections such as nasal discharge. The treatment given was symptomatic or supportive treatment,” PERHILITAN said.
The department added that the tiger’s virology results confirmed that it had canine distemper virus, which also affects domestic animals such as dogs and cats, as well as other wildlife, including tigers, wolves and foxes.
According to wildlife director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the virus would cause an animal to become confused and unable to differentiate its predatory nature.
“This could be the reason why it did not harm the humans and livestock it came across," he said.
"Normal tigers will not reject people or livestock. If they don’t eat them, they will attack them as it is their nature."
PERHILITAN said it is possible that the virus was transmitted to the tiger by other wild animals around the village.
The two tigers are believed to be someone's pets, said authorities last week.