Fifth Big Cat Dies of Distemper at In-Sync Exotics

Friday, Aug 9, 2013  |  Updated 6:35 PM CDT
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Fourth Big Cat Dies of Distemper at Wylie Sanctuary

In-Sync Exotics

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Fourth Big Cat Dies of Distemper at Wylie Sanctuary

A spokeswoman for In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie says an 11-year-old male white tiger named Harley died Wednesday night.
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A fifth big cat has died at a North Texas animal sanctuary where officials are trying to stop the spread of canine distemper.

In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie posted on its Facebook page Thursday, "we have had to say goodbye to our beautiful, sweet, kind, gentle, funny Lucca. She fought hard, but nothing that we tried could help her, and the only thing we had left to do for her is give her peace. We are, once again, devastated. Our hearts will never be the same."

Lucca, a 13-year-old Bengal tiger is the fifth big cat to die from canine distemper.

An 11-year-old male white tiger named Harley died July 17. Harley's 9-year-old brother, Abrams, died July 15. A 12-year-old male tiger named Apollo and a 17-year-old lioness called Layla died earlier in July. 

More than 20 exotic cats at the center have been diagnosed with canine distemper in recent weeks. Symptoms range from runny noses to seizures. 

Wildlife officials are working with veterinarians on the outbreak. Experts believe the canine distemper was transmitted by wild raccoons.

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