Studying Sumatran samples

DZG’s stunning Sumatran tigers are helping two university students with research into the digestive system of the species.

Aberystwyth University students James Taylor, aged 20, and Olivia Moore, aged 21, will be testing faecal samples from tigress Daseep and male Joao as part of their final year degree studies in zoology.



ABOVE – Our beautiful pair of Sumatrans LEFT – Senior Keeper Jodie Dryden hands over tiger samples to James Taylor – one of two university students studying Sumatrans

DZG Keepers collected the tiger deposits, labelled them and kept them frozen until James collected them to take back to the university laboratory.

The pair, both from Burton-on-Trent, have also been gathering in samples from tigers at other UK zoos to probe whether the animal’s microbial gut changes with age and diet.

Their project – called The influence of age and feeding regime on gastrointestinal microbiota of Panthera tigris – has the support of BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

DZG Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, said: “We are fully behind this BIAZA approved study and were only too happy to collect and store the samples.

“James and Olivia are going to use DNA analysis to understand the composition of the microbiome and to test if its stability changes with age and diet.

“We are very much looking forward to receiving copies of the final reports early next summer.”