Studying Sumatrans

Keele University student Mark Lightfoot has been keeping a close eye on DZG’s pair of Sumatran tigers as part of a research project.

The 21-year-old biology and psychology degree student, from Stafford, has recently completed his study of three-year-old male Joao and four-year-old tigress Daseep – just as we gear up to celebrate Global Tiger Day next week (see below for more details).

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Over several weeks, Mark, pictured right with Senior Keeper Sarah Evans, has spent a total of 60 hours observing the effectiveness of different enrichment techniques with the tigers.

Senior Keeper Sarah Evans said: “Mark spent half his time here watching how the tigers behaved without enrichment and the second part with two forms of enrichment.

“First we added a large plastic ball covered in Marmite into the enclosure and Daseep went straight for it. She licked off the Marmite and loved rolling the ball around.”

Then Mark asked for a hessian sack, filled with smelly used bedding from the Giraffe House, to be added to the enclosure.

Sarah added: “Again Daseep went for it first and pulled the bedding out everywhere.

“Then both tigers starting showing off a natural behaviour. They sniffed out the strange smell, rolled in the bedding and then marked it with their own scent.

“Mark will now use the information to compile his dissertation and is going to send us a copy. It will be interesting to read about his findings in more detail.”

DZG’s Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, said: “We are building a research relationship with Keele University and hope many more students will come on site to carry out various projects.

“We look forward to welcoming Keele student Amy Smith over the summer who will be carrying out research on our colony of Humboldt penguins.”

Get ready for Global Tiger Day – Wednesday 29th July 2015

Join us on Wednesday to mark Global Tiger Day and help give tigers a future in the wild.

We will be raising funds alongside priceless awareness for tigers in the wild, where there are less than 3,200 surviving, which includes between 300 and 400 Sumatrans just like our Joao and beautiful tigress, Daseep, pictured below.


Our team of presenters from the Discovery Centre will be stationed outside the tiger enclosure, helping spread the important conservation message to visitors and raising awareness of the current threats facing tigers in the wild.

webtigerwatch2_0We’ve got a GRRR-EAT line-up for the day!

As well as tiger talks, visitors can see our tigers being treated to blood ice lollies, we’ll have a raffle to win a huge cuddly tiger (shown right), tiger face painting and tiger souvenirs will be on sale in the Safari Gift Shop.

And what’s more, one child can come into the zoo for free with a full-paying adult on the day!

One child will get free entry with a full-paying adult by downloading and printing THIS VOUCHER and bringing it with you on Wednesday! (Only one voucher per transaction is permitted.)

All donations collected on the day will go to 21st Century Tiger – a charity which supports carefully chosen wild tiger conservation projects.

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