Mumbai: SGNP fights to save sole white tigress from cancer

Recently diagnosed with melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, 18-year-old white tigress Rebecca will undergo surgery today and chemotherapy for a month after that

Taking an aggressive approach to treating Sanjay Gandhi National Park’s sole white tigress, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, experts will operate on the big cat today and then continue treatment with chemotherapy for a month.

Rebecca will undergo a two-hour surgery this morning. Experts are  concerned her advanced age might slow down her response to the treatment
Rebecca will undergo a two-hour surgery this morning. Experts are  concerned her advanced age might slow down her response to the treatment

The success of the surgery will depend on how the tigress responds, said experts who were concerned about her advanced age. Rebecca, the 18-year-old white tigress at SGNP underwent surgery just last month to remove a tumour near her left eye, after which her caretakers suspected she might have cancer.

The biopsy confirmed she is suffering from melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, in her left eye (‘National park’s sole white tigress has cancer’, mid-day, April 11). In preparation for the procedure, Rebecca was kept fasting for 12 hours.

The surgery is expected to last for about two hours, and the surgical team comprises the park’s in-house veterinarian Dr Sanjiv B Pinjarkar, retired professor from Bombay Veterinary College Dr CC Wakankar, scientific officer at Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) at Tata Memorial Centre Dr PR Chaudari and wildlife vet Dr Manish Pingle.

“During the operation we will cut and remove the tumour from her eye. The success of the operation depends on her response, as she is aged and this could slow down her recovery. After the procedure is successful, we will begin her chemotherapy,” said Dr Pinjarkar, adding that Rebecca would be kept under observation through the month while she undergoes chemotherapy.

Park loses youngest cub
Meanwhile, the national park lost its youngest leopard cub just four weeks old on April 13. The cub was brought to SGNP along with three others from Nandurbar after their mother abandoned them in a sugarcane field.

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