Phoenix Zoo an­nounces de­but of Su­ma­tran tiger

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State - Mike Cruz and Ali Phillips NATHAN J FISH/THE REPUB­LIC

The Phoenix Zoo hopes to of­fi­cially de­but Fri­day a fe­male tiger it re­ceived from a fa­cil­ity in Ta­coma, Wash­ing­ton, the zoo said Thurs­day on Face­book.

The zoo’s new ad­di­tion, named Dari, is a 200 pound, 4-year-old Su­ma­tran tiger from the Point De­fi­ance Zoo and Aquar­ium in Ta­coma, ac­cord­ing to the post. She will pair with the zoo’s ex­ist­ing male tiger in the zoo’s ex­hibit.

Su­ma­tran tigers are the small­est sub­species of tiger in the world and are crit­i­cally en­dan­gered, with only about 400 left in the wild, said Carl Mohler, a se­nior keeper at the Phoenix Zoo.

Be­cause these tigers orig­i­nate on the Su­ma­tra Is­land in In­done­sia, they can tol­er­ate the Ari­zona heat, he said.

“She is do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well con­sid­er­ing the short time she has been here. Most cats are pretty timid when it comes to new sur­round­ings, but she im­me­di­ately en­tered our build­ing and started ex­plor­ing,” Mohler said. “She has a very in­quis­i­tive na­ture and a cu­ri­ous per­son­al­ity.”

Dari is rec­om­mended for breed­ing by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquar­i­ums’ Su­ma­tran Tiger Species Sur­vival Plan.

“She came here for a cou­ple of rea­sons, one rea­son is her job. She is an in­vestor for her species, she is here to show how amaz­ing, beau­ti­ful, strong they are,” Mohler said.

“An­other rea­son is she has been paired with our male, Jay, for breed­ing. It’s im­por­tant to have them still in ex­is­tences. We want to make sure they ex­ist for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions be­cause in the wild they are fac­ing an abun­dance of is­sues.”

The zoo staff noted in a state­ment: “Dari not only has a very sweet de­meanor, but she has al­ready be­gun to ex­plore her new habi­tat and has set­tled in very well.”

The Phoenix Zoo opened a new Su­ma­tran tiger ex­hibit in 2015.

The Phoenix Zoo's new Su­ma­tran tiger, Dari, is seen in Phoenix on Thurs­day.

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