DZG’s big cat keepers have started keeping an extra close eye on our gorgeous Sumatran tigress Daseep as they look out for early signs of pregnancy.
ABOVE – Keepers have started keeping a weekly watch on Daseep. Thanks to Kathryn Willett for the terrific photos
Daseep and our three-year-old male, Joao, are paired as part of a major international conservation project for one of the world’s most critically endangered species.
Keepers have just started to monitor Daseep on a weekly basis in the hope that we’ll be celebrating the incredible birth of precious tiger cubs some time next year.
Daseep, pictured below, is ranked as the world’s second most important female in the genetic pool for this rare sub-species, which now numbers fewer than 400 in the wild.
Section Leader Jay Haywood said: “Our tigers have been mating in recent weeks and because we are so keen to breed this critically endangered species we have decided to monitor Daseep regularly.
“We will be weighing her every Monday and regulating her diet to make sure she eats the same amount of food each week. That way, if there is any variation in her weight it could be an indication of her being pregnant.
“We’ll also be taking pictures of her belly each week so we can quickly spot any change in its shape.
“We have never tried this close monitoring method at Dudley before so we are keeping our fingers crossed it could lead to some amazing news next year.”
RIGHT – Keepers have their eye on you Daseep!
Daseep will be weighed on a set of portable scales which are disguised by a wooden platform in her internal den.
For the past few weeks keepers have been getting her used to stepping on the board before the scales were added underneath and the wires concealed.
Meanwhile Joao, shown napping above, has been keeping track of the days as we get closer to Christmas. The handsome male can confirm there are 12 more sleeps!