Big Cat Habitat Reacts to Tiger Death at Busch Gardens
SARASOTA - The Big Cat Habitat shares insight after a Bengal tiger passes away at Busch Gardens. The cause, unknown. Bala, a 13-year old Bengal tiger from Busch Gardens, lived with her brother, Bhutan since 2007. She died after what Busch Gardens calls an “atypical reaction” with her brother. Clayton Rosaire is vice president of Sarasota County’s Big Cat Habitat. While he mourns the loss of such a majestic animal, his thoughts are also with her handlers.
"First off, we just want to give our condolences for the animal caregivers and the crew that have dedicated their lives to giving those animals their every day and keeping them happy and healthy," Clayton Rosaire said. "You have to think that some of those people have probably been around those animals for thirteen years. So, it’s like losing a family member.”
Rosaire, who is the son of circus great, Kay Rosaire, says while Busch Gardens called the whatever happened, "atypical,” Rosaire says it’s hard to really know what could have happened.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to find out that she might have had a seizure," Rosaire said. "And with wild animals, they react differently. They can’t communicate like we do. They can’t say I’m feeling funny, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
With the two tigers being raised together in captivity as siblings, Rosaire says the reaction could have been out of concern.
"So, for a sibling to see his sister just fall down and react in that way, in many cases, they run over and they get scared," Rosaire said. "And for most animals, a scared reaction is to – to grab on."
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay shared in a statement: "Bala was loved by her care team and the guests who visited the Jungala area of the park. She will be dearly missed."
We’ll keep you posted on this story.