Health check for tiger ahead of move at London Zoo

Raika is a female Sumatran tiger, which are a critically endangered species Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA

Vets at London Zoo have had the unenviable task of conducting a health check on a tiger. Raika, a 17 year old Sumatran tiger weighing 231lb, was assessed before a move out of the zoo to make way for new arrivals ahead of the reopening of the Tiger Territory exhibit in spring next year.

The Sumatran tiger has lived at the zoo since 1997, and will be moving with mate Lumpur to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden, Kent at the end of the month.

The zoo's tiger keepers trained her to lean against the wall of her enclosure so she could be anaesthetised with a handheld injection and avoid the stress of a tranquilliser dart.Vets then took blood samples and checked Raika's eyes, ears, razor-sharp teeth, chest and abdomen.

ZSL London Zoo vet Tai Strike said: "Every animal, big or small, must undergo a full health examination before moving between zoos to ensure that they are in good health and fit to travel."

"Raika is a model patient and we were able to carry out her full check-up quickly and quietly - and she was blissfully unaware of the whole procedure when she woke up."