The young tiger that died at the Greater Vancouver Zoo at the end of April was suffering from pleuritis, according to early results from a necropsy.
A pathologist is performing tests on Hani, the Siberian tiger found dead by her keeper on the morning of April 30.
The necropsy, to determine the cause of death, has found changes in Haniâ€™s chest that suggest pleuritis, an inflammatory process that affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
Hani had suffered a partial collapse of one lung and circulatory changes in the the lungs.
â€œFurther tests are being conducted in an effort to determine the cause of the pleuritis,â€ said Dr. Ann Britton, the veterinary pathologist. â€œFurther tests are also being conducted to determine whether there might have been any heart involvement.â€
Britton said pleuritis is a fairly common problem in domestic cats, and is usually non-contagious.
The necropsy is ongoing and a final report is expected by the end of the week.
Zoo manager Jodi Henderson said this has been a difficult week for the zooâ€™s staff and volunteers.
Hani had appeared healthy, aside from being off her food and lethargic the day before her death, said Henderson.
Hani was born at its sister zoo, Seoul Zoo Korea, on May 22, 2011. Hani arrived at the Greater Vancouver Zoo with her sister, Hana, on June 4, 2012. Hani was the smaller of the two tigers and had a quiet demeanor when compared to her sister.
The median life expectancy of female Siberian tigers is 14 years in captivity. In the wild there are as few as 400-500 Siberian tigers living primarily in eastern Russia, though some exist in China and North Korea.
Tigers are listed as â€œendangeredâ€ conservation status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Tigers are the largest members of the cat family.