(UPDATE JAN. 16, 2018): After spending a month behind the scenes healing after a soft tissue injury to his left hind leg, six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, Eko, has now been without a limp for two weeks and is back to his old self! Weather permitting, all four tiger cubs, plus Mom Lola are available for viewing in their Cat Forest habitat at the Zoo.
If you’ve visited the Zoo recently and wondered, “Hey, where’s Eko?” you’re not alone. Eko, a five-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, and brother to Ramah, Gusti and adopted sister Zoya, is currently on den-rest (vet’s orders) after sustaining an injury to his left hind leg.
Zoo staff first observed Eko limping intermittently in mid-November and when the issue didn’t resolve on its own, he was brought in for an exam on Tuesday, December 5. X-Rays were taken and it was determined he is in good condition, however, his left hip is swollen, causing a limp in his hind leg.
Because Eko is playful and loves running, jumping and exploring every nook and cranny of his habitat, he could be at risk for further injury on exhibit. The Zoo’s veterinary care team prescribed medication and placed Eko on den-rest for at least a few weeks until the injury is healed.
Eko is very social and doesn’t like to be left alone. Zoo staff will work to ensure a family member is always with him so that he can have companionship while he rests up. In the mornings, one of his siblings will remain inside with him as a companion. Around lunch, Momma Lola will be brought in with him and his brothers can play outside. At night, the entire family will be together inside.
Going forward, Eko will be evaluated regularly and monitored for comfort and healing.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with less than 500 estimated to be living in the wild in the forests of Indonesia. Their survival is seriously threatened by habitat loss driven primarily by the cultivation of palm oil plantations and by illegal hunting.
In 2016 the Oklahoma City Zoo began a partnership with Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization whose mission is to work with local partners to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests. Using funds donated by OKC Zoo guests through the Zoo’s grassroots program, Round Up for Conservation, Rainforest Trust purchased 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra, an area five times the size of Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner. This lowland forest is rich in biodiversity and is now designated as a protected area, safe from conversion to palm oil plantations and logging and patrolled to prevent illegal activities, such as poaching. It is home to some of the Zoo’s most popular and endangered species, including Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and Sumatran tigers.
Stay tuned for progress updates from the Zoo on social media.