Melani, 15, one of 10 female Sumatran tigers from Surabaya Zoo now under intensive care at the Indonesian Safari Park (TSI), Cisarua, Bogor, for a digestive disorder, was dozing that afternoon.
She was awakened and roared when a TSI paramedic approached her cage to record her condition.
Melani is among the many victims of management conflicts at the zoo. She has survived while hundreds of other animals have perished.
"Melani is now in far better health. Her weight has increased by 8 kilograms and her fur is glossier," said Ligaya Ita Tumbelaka, a Sumatran tiger studbook keeper.
Based on the zoo's data, Melani had less colostrum (a source of antibodies) while breastfeeding, so she had a lower immunity.
"Upon her arrival at TSI, Melani was very weak and skinny, weighing only 45 kilograms due to her poor health. Both her fangs had also fallen out at her age," added Ligaya.
This condition was worsened by Melani's food consumption while she was raised at Surabaya Zoo. TSI director Tony Sumampau noted Melani's laboratory tests had indicated poisoning by meat that contained formalin.
"Melani is under strict veterinary supervision. When her condition is stable, she will go to the Sumatran Tiger Captive Breeding Center [PPHS] at TSI, Cisarua, Bogor," he said.