Russia has sent a terminally ill tiger to Tehran as part of reintroduction program, Iran's state English-language Press TV has said.
The Russian side transferred a couple of Amur tigers to Iran's Environmental Protection Organization in April 2010 in exchange for two Persian leopards. The male has been diagnosed with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and died two weeks ago, the organization said.
The manager of Tehran's Eram Zoo said, however, that the big cat died of glanders, a respiratory infection that is not endemic to Russia but is quite common in Middle East.
"The Russian tiger that was brought to the country was itself a carrier of glanders and did not catch the disease in Iran," Amir Elhami told Press TV.
The biodiversity program coordinator at WWF-Russia, Vladimir Krever, said the tiger was "absolutely healthy" when it was sent to Iran.
"The tigers underwent complete health check-up before being sent to Iran, and no glanders was detected. Most likely, the tiger was fed with infected meat. Glanders is common in hoofed mammals in Iran," Krever told RIA Novosti on Friday.
MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti)