Casino under fire for tiger cub deaths - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

JUPITERS Casino on the Gold Coast, under fire over the deaths of two tiger cubs, was plunged deeper into controversy yesterday when a third and sole surviving cub died.

The cub was the last of three baby tigers born in breach of Government permits to Jupiters stage show star Serena last week, and its death drew condemnation from the RSPCA.

"One death was bad enough, two was worse and three is about as bad as it gets," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.

"Its not a good record and were obviously very upset."

Mr Beatty said Jupiters should never have been allowed to bring in Serena and two other adult tigers for its Midnight Magic show, let alone allow them to breed.

The casino has admitted breaching a Government permit which banned tiger breeding. The Department of Natural Resources, which issued the permit, is investigating Jupiters claim that the pregnancy was an accident and may take punitive action.

It emerged yesterday the father of the cubs was Serenas son Phoenix, a 19-month-old Bengal tiger which was believed to be too immature to breed.

The RSPCA accused Jupiters of "questionable animal husbandry practices", but a casino spokeswoman said it was "quite normal" for tigers to inter-breed in the wild.

The vet who treated the cubs said it appeared they died from bacterial septicemia (blood poisoning).

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