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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 14:15 GMT
Zoo's sadness as tiger cub dies
Topan and Kirana. Picture courtesy of Paignton Zoo
Topan and his sister Kirana were born earlier this year
One of two rare Sumatran tiger cubs born at a Devon zoo earlier this year has died.

Topan and his sister Kiran were the first tiger cubs born at Paignton Zoo for 20 years.

Topan, who first appeared to be ill a few days ago, stopped breathing while being examined.

Despite "heroic" efforts by the zoo's veterinary team the seven-month-old cub died. It is thought he may have had a heart condition.

The staff are naturally very upset
Julian Chapman, Paignton Zoo

Topan was named by viewers of the BBC Spotlight TV programme who came up with 400 names for the cubs after a request was made for help.

His name is Indonesian for hurricane while Kirana's name means "beautiful ray of light".

Phil Knowling from the zoo said it was "very sad".

"The staff involved were fantastic and heroic but couldn't save him," he said.

Senior head mammal keeper Julian Chapman said it was becoming clear that Topan was not growing as quickly as his sister.

"We did all the right things at exactly the right time, but we were unable to save him," he said.

Conservation setback

"The staff are naturally very upset."

The zoo also said it was a setback for its conservation efforts.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered in the wild and Paignton Zoo is part of the European Endangered Species Programme to help protect and breed the animals.

The zoo's other Sumatran tigers, male Tenang, female Banda and Kirana are all doing well.


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