March 15, 2007 / 8:33 PM / 12 years ago

Once-ailing Tomar the tiger back on prowl

TORONTO (Reuters) - Tomar the Siberian tiger is back on his paws and is once again prowling his pen just eight weeks after Canadian zoo experts said he was nearing the end of his nine lives.

The 19-year-old tiger had been seriously ill with kidney failure as recently as last month, and care-givers at the Moncton Magnetic Hill Zoo in the eastern province of New Brunswick thought he was on his last legs.

But the 205 kilogram (450 pound) cat has made a swift recovery.

“We changed his diet to get more fatty foods in to his system and ease the strain on his kidneys,” said Bruce Dougan, the zoo’s general manager. “He’s up and around and really enjoying life right now.”

Tomar’s outgoing ways and inquisitive nature have made him a celebrity in the Atlantic province. A local hockey team, the Moncton Wildcats, chose its name to honour him.

When Tomar’s health woes were revealed in January, donations and words of support poured in from around the world.

“We had people donating money for his medications, e-mails from people in South Korea ... it was really quite amazing,” Dougan said.

Plans are for Tomar to meet the public in April when the zoo reopens for the summer.

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