Ageing white tiger Omar under health observation at Singapore Zoo

Blood being drawn from Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Blood being drawn from Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Singapore Zoo is keeping a close watch on 15-year-old white tiger Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Singapore Zoo is keeping a close watch on 15-year-old white tiger Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Singapore Zoo is keeping a close watch on 15-year-old white tiger Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Singapore Zoo is keeping a close watch on 15-year-old white tiger Omar. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Singapore Zoo's 15-year-old white tiger Omar underwent a blood test on Thursday, as keepers and vets seek to keep a closer eye on the ageing big cat.

Results showed that his kidneys and liver are functioning normally, although he had to get treatment for keratisis in his left eye, a condition which causes the cornea to become inflamed or dry.

While sedation is sometimes used on some of the zoo's animals when conducting health checks, Omar was kept conscious while staff kept him calm.

Head vet Serena Oh and a keeper were able to quickly draw blood from his tail as a second keeper fed and spoke to the animal on the other side of the cage.

Omar was born in Indonesia's Taman Safari and arrived in Singapore Zoo with his two sisters Winnie and Jippie on April 6, 2001, when they were 19 months old. His two sisters have since died.

White tigers can live for 10 to 15 years in the wild and up to 20 in zoos.

andreang@sph.com.sg