Necropsy results for Emerson, the 10-year-old male Sumatran tiger who died at Zoo Atlanta in November, show that he had cancer of the bile duct.
Results also showed the cholangiocarcinoma had metastasized to his abdomen, which caused the symptoms the zoo’s veterinary team had been treating prior to his death, according to a press release.
The tiger had been showing signs of lethargy and a declining appetite.
A necropsy is the animal equivalent of an autopsy. It was performed through Zoo Atlanta’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Emerson’s death was one of a few recent blows to Atlanta’s animal community. Also in November, the calf of a beluga whale who went into labor at the Georgia Aquarium did not make it through delivery.
Chantek, a 39-year-old male orangutan known around the world for his ability to use American Sign Language to communicate, died at Zoo Atlanta in August.