Birmingham Zoo says Kumar the Tiger cancer free after undergoing surgery

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Good news! Kumar, the Birmingham Zoo’s 17-year-old Malayan tiger, is cancer free after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his hip.

Zoo officials said Kumar is “doing well” after having the cancerous tumor removed last week.

“The histopathology results came in and the talented zoo veterinary team were able to completely excise the tumor,” the zoo said in a statement on Facebook, and the cancer hadn’t spread. “Kumar’s health will continue to be monitored.”

According to our newspartners at, zoo spokesperson Kiki Nolen-Schmidt said at this time, there is no evidence that Kumar has cancer.

Kumar, who will turn 18 later this month, was diagnosed in March with malignant sarcoma, a cancer that invades the body’s soft tissues. A tumor was found on his right hip during a daily assessment.

Prior to surgery, zoo officials said chest radiographs and an abdominal ultrasound didn’t show the cancer having spread to other organs. Because of those tests, the zoo said they are optimistic for Kumar’s prognosis.

“Because this particular type of tumor is malignant, we had to take very wide margins around the tumor to remove all of the affected soft tissue,” Birmingham Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Stephanie McCain said in a press release.

Kumar was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and arrived at the Birmingham Zoo on June 19, 2001. Malayan tigers are a smaller species of the cats with black stripes and reddish fur, and can be found in the wild throughout southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula and into southern Thailand. In the wild, the average lifespan of a Malayan tiger is 15 years.