Smiles All Round after Tiger Hutan's Trip to the Dentist
One of Melbourne Zoo's most spectacular animals is back tearing into dinner after a dental operation at the vet department.
Hutan the 10-year-old Sumatran Tiger is suspected to have cracked a tooth during a mealtime
Keepers believe the fracture occurred as Hutan bit down on a bone.
Given how important fully-functional teeth are to a carnivore, Hutan’s keepers and Zoo vets called in a dental
specialist who was able to operate on Hutan at Melbourne Zoo’s veterinary clinic.
The 127-kilogram tiger was in surgery for an hour, during which time the Vet team capped his cracked canine tooth.
Years of healthcare training and relationship building saw Hutan voluntarily participate in a hand-injection from one of
his keepers before he was transported to the surgery.
Melbourne Zoo Head Veterinarian Dr Michael Lynch said Hutan is now back in his rainforest habitat and has recovered
"Hutan was here at the surgery for a fractured lower canine tooth, one of his bigger teeth," Dr Lynch said.
"It was a fresh fracture, so the surgery was a capping, where just the top part of the inside of his tooth is taken out
and then capped, so the tooth can still be alive afterwards.
"The tooth had fractured and exposed the pulp cavity. If not repaired, the tooth would die, and cause him significant pain. This procedure today meant Hutan could avoid those consequences and preserve the live tooth, which is very
"The tooth had fractured and exposed the pulp cavity. If not repaired, the tooth would die, and cause him significant
pain. This procedure today meant Hutan could avoid those consequences and preserve the live tooth, which is very
Sumatran Tigers are classified as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of
Nature's Red List, with just several hundred remaining in the wild. Habitat destruction through the clearing of
rainforests for palm oil plantations is one of the biggest threats Sumatran Tigers face.
Zoos Victoria’s Don’t Palm Us Off initiative has been calling for clearer labelling of palm oil on products to try to
reduce the impact of unsustainable palm oil operations. For more information and to get involved in the campaign,
Tiger lovers can visit https://www.zoo.org.au/dont-palm-us-off/