Bengali arrived at Popcorn Park in May 2003, emaciated, bones protruding and with barely a will to live. He was the last cat left at a defunct big cat sanctuary in Texas, from whom we had taken three other tigers the year before. (Read Bengali's complete story with photos here.) It took some time, but with devoted care by staff and vets and a willingness to try whatever would get this handsome tiger on the mend, Bengali began to improve. But it was his interest in Porsche, the lioness on the other side of his fence, that inspired him to find a renewed interest in life. He got stronger each day by walking along the fence with his new found friend. Finally, he had put on weight, was truly feeling well and had come to trust staff. That took 3 months of concentrated effort, but the results showed. He was magnificent, indeed.
All was well until this January, 2013. Two weeks earlier we noticed he wasn't acting right and was lethargic. The veterinarian called for a sedated exam that evening. Blood was taken and suggested Bengali might have an insulinoma, a tumor of the pancreas. These tumors secrete high levels of insulin, leading to severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Weakness, seizures, coma, and even death can be a result. He was given IV treatments followed by a few weeks of oral medications to stabilize him until we could set up a visit to the speciality hospital.
At NorthStar Vets, a specialty dog and cat hospital, several more tests were run. Repeat bloodwork, ultrasound, and even a CT scan confirmed the diagnosis of insulinoma and Ben went into surgery. A team of specialists removed the rather large tumor from his pancreas, and he recovered well from the lengthy five hour procedure. Bengali came back to Popcorn Park under close watch.
Bengali under anesthesia.
A great big thank you to Dr. Stobie, Dr Culbert, Dr Portner, Dr. Gutman and the entire staff at NorthStar; they did an amazing job from the vet techs on up, from CT scans to ultra sounds, and finally to Dr Culbert's surgery. Assisting in all that was done in the surgery were our own veterinarian staff at Popcorn Park, Dr's Paluch and Bergmann.
Bengali in surgery at NorthStar
Despite Bengali's pulling through the surgery, sadly, he was not able to maintain his recovery and he passed away later that night. We were so fortunate to be able to share in his life for the last 10 years. Until we meet again ... Good night, my friend.
Bengali truly made an impression on so many people's lives and will be deeply missed at Popcorn Park. We are all so grateful for your sending thoughts and prayers for Ben and for sharing your memories of visiting him and how you came to know and love him. It means a great deal to all of us that loved Bengali so much. Among those who Ben touched is one of our Board members, Barbara Lathrop, who said of Bengali's passing, "..... Thank you Bengali for the awe and joy you brought to the faces of the thousands who got to meet you. We wish you peace and love on your journey home."
Read more about Bengali on the Lacey Patch