The death of a tiger cub at the Tiger Safari in Tuttle has once again sparked the intrest of the Humane Society of the United States.
Tuttle Tiger Safari owner, Bill Meadows, said the animal died from choking on a deer bone.
A necropsy report from the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostics Lab at Oklahoma State University, said, "The cause of death in this animal is asphyxiation from the large piece of dear meat and bone found in the animal's pharynx" … "The cadaver is in good post mortem condition and in excellent body condition based on adequate internal adipose stores and normal skeletal muscle mass," the necropsy report said.
Lisa Wathen, HSUS, said she was not aware of the necropsy report.
A report from HSUS alleges that the tiger cub, Maximus, was the main subject of an undercover investigation at the zoo.
The investigation claims the cub died at one and a half years of age. The report claims Maximus was overly handled, harshly disciplined and had ringworm.
"Maximus was mercilessly over-handled, he was frequently awakened just to be handled, and he often screamed in distress as he was passed around for entertainment. As he grew, Maximus was physically disciplined and manhandled by Meadows and his staff when he would not cooperate for photo shoots," Naseem Amini, a media relations specialist with HSUS, said.
Meadows said four weeks of age is an appropriate age for tiger cubs to be handled. Before then, the tiger cubs are only handled by Meadows and his staff, Meadows said. As far as the alleged mishandling, Meadows said it is common to pop the tiger once on the nose when training.
"I wouldn't be able to get in a cage with them I was hurting them. I must be doing something right," he said.
"How common is ringworm in dogs and cats?" Meadows said. He added that Tiger Safari has only had three cases of ringworm in 25 years.
This is the second tiger cub that has died at the Tiger Safari Zoo within a year. A cub named Sarabi died in September 2015 from a virus.
Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma state director for The HSUS said: “Maximus and Sarabi’s dismal lives and untimely deaths illustrate the urgent need for a ban on the practice of breeding tiger cubs and pulling them from their mothers to be used for public handling.”