Sumatran tiger settling in

DZG’s newest arrival, young Sumatran tiger, Joao, has settled well into his new home after relocating from Germany as part of a major international conservation programme.

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The 20-month-old tiger translocated to the Midlands collection on November 14 from Krefeld Zoo to join three-year-old Daseep, who is ranked as the world’s second most important female in the genetic pool for this critically endangered species, which now numbers fewer than 400 in the wild.

Following his arrival six days ago, when he was craned into his Modernist Triple Tection enclosure, Joao (pronounced ZHOW) has been settling into the internal dens off-show to the public and keepers are delighted with his progress.

Assistant Curator, Richard Brown, pictured above, said: “Joao is still settling into his new surroundings in the internal dens and we are monitoring his behaviour daily. He seems to be a relaxed tiger and big cat staff are now working hard to build a bond with him by spending as much time as possible sitting and talking to him.

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“We hope visitors will bear with him until he’s ready to explore the outside, which we expect to be sometime in the coming weeks.”

While off-show staff have also started the gradual introduction process between Joao and Daseep, who arrived at DZG from Wuppertal Zoo, in Germany, in February 2012.

Richard added: “Although both tigers are kept separately indoors, they can now see each other through the internal enclosures and there has been some vocalisation between the pair. All the initial reactions have so far been promising and are all positive signs that things are progressing well.”

DZG holds an impressive breeding record for Sumatran tigers; eight cubs born at the Castle Hill site between 2000 and 2005 increased the world population of this rare sub-species by two per cent and went on to boost programmes across the world.

With more tiger rugs in the world than tigers in the wild, captive breeding provides a vital safety net against extinction. 

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Tune into Free Radio 97.2 DAB from 4pm onwards this evening to hear Assistant Curator Richard Brown explain all about DZG’s Sumatran tiger breeding programme.