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The last glimmer of hope is lost

A.D. Rangarajan



LOOKING IN THE EYE: An eye specialist checking blind tiger Ram at S.V. Zoological Park in Tirupati on Thursday.

TIRUPATI: The last glimmer of hope is lost. The poor tiger can never see light. The blind tiger Ram (20), rescued from Jumbo circus, Kerala early this year, is being rehabilitated at the Animal rescue centre situated at the SV Zoo Park here. A team of eye specialists from Hyderabad-based LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) that arrived here on Thursday to treat it almost confirmed that nothing could be done.

Despite being administered a tranquiliser shot, Ram was not totally unconscious and had to be held by limbs by half a dozen animal keepers, when the specialists descended at the centre.

The slightly-bulging out left eye was totally opaque and hence could not be properly checked. Ravi Thomas, director of LVPEI and Subhabrata Chakrabarthi, scientist, were horrified to find the intraocular pressure to be 90, which in case of humans would be somewhere around 21. The doctors found the tiger to be totally blind and beyond any corrective measure. While it had glaucoma in both the eyes, the right eye, slightly sunken into the pit, had an injury too, presumably suffered during its miserable days as an 'entertainment object'.

All efforts prove futile

Okay, can surgery help? "The optic nerve must be dead, so it maynot be possible", Dr.Thomas shrugged off. "If blindness was due to cataract, then we could have taken it up. But, I have not handled a tiger-patient so far", he smiled. Organ implantation too could help little as a tiger's cornea had to be grafted, which was again infeasible.

The severe pain felt in its right eye also could not be mitigated as the only solution was removal of the eyeball. Finally, the woes of the poor tiger remain. It neither got eyesight, nor its pain was redressed.

"The tiger is expected to live for three more years, but with all this intact", the Conservator of Forests, Tirupati wildlife circle, M.Bulliah told The Hindu.

Ram had already lost his ferocity after his nails were removed at the circus, and had become even more timid after losing eyesight. He looks just like a cat, a little bigger in size.

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