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WYLIE, Texas — A tiger described as the ‘‘soul’’ of a North Texas animal sanctuary became the seventh big cat to die from an outbreak of a fatal virus, a spokeswoman for the refuge said Monday.
Tacoma, who was 13 years old and weighed in excess of 400 pounds, died Sunday night at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in the Dallas suburb of Wylie. Spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Tacoma was the sixth tiger killed by canine distemper. A lioness also has died.
More than a dozen other big cats are still suffering from the virus. Experts believe raccoons probably started the outbreak by crawling around the large outdoor cages that house more than 50 lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and other cats.