Australia Endangered Sumatran tigers fly to Tasmania Zoo in state first

15:09  13 june  2018
15:09  13 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Tasmania 's first Sumatran tigers will arrive this week to help spread the message of conservation.

The Sumatran tiger is a Panthera tigris sondaica population in the Indonesian island of Sumatra . This population was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2008

a cat sleeping on top of a tiger© Provided by ABC Business

Two critically endangered Sumatran tigers are currently on their way to Tasmania to their new home at Tasmania Zoo.

The tigers, siblings named Cinta and Jalur, left Symbio Wildlife Park south of Sydney on Wednesday bound for the Launceston tourist attraction.

The siblings will be given time to recuperate from their journey when they arrive on Friday before being displayed to the public this weekend.

About 300 Sumatran tigers exist in the world today.

The critically endangered tiger subspecies is found only on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.

Emma Morgan is the head keeper at Tasmania Zoo and said her team was familiar with tending to big cats.

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The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving member of the Sunda Islands group of tigers that included the now extinct Bali tiger and Javan tiger .[2] Sequences from complete mitochondrial genes of 34 tigers support the hypothesis that Sumatran tigers are diagnostically distinct from mainland populations.[3].

Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. At the Zoo , tigers eat ground beef, and their diet is supplemented with enrichment items each week. They receive knucklebones or cow femurs twice a week and rabbits once a week to exercise their jaws and keep their teeth healthy.

"We have housed large cat species — like our lions — so they present fairly similar behaviour and [are] just as scary," Ms Morgan said.

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Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies. The greatest threats to this critically endangered animal, are poaching, deforestation and human- tiger conflict. Learn more about what WWF is doing to protect its future, and how you can help.

As Sumatran rain forests fall to palm oil plantations, their critically endangered tiger may soon vanish from the planet. A male tiger surveying his domain from a ridgeline in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Into the distance, where the tiger is looking, the forest ends and large oil palm plantations begin.

Making the trip across Bass Strait

The tigers will be boxed for their flight to Tasmania and have been well-prepared for the long journey.

"They've been conditioned to their crates so hopefully they won't stress out too much in there," Ms Morgan said.

"They are well trained, so we are hoping for a smooth transition."

Relocating big, feisty animals is a stressful time for the big cats and their keepers but the tigers will be closely monitored throughout the journey by travelling vets on board.

The arrival of the tigers has been a long time coming for Tasmania Zoo, with staff making lots of preparations to accommodate the tigers, particularly in the chilly Tasmanian winter.

"They do have nice heated dens, comfy beds and they have a nice thick coat as well, it shouldn't affect them too much too," Ms Morgan said.

Ms Morgan said one of Cinta and Jalur's favourite activities is bathing and swimming and they will have a huge swimming pool at their new home.

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There are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. That's why we are collaborating with the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

All Tigers Are Endangered . The Sumatran Tiger Is One Of These Endangered Tiger Species. Photo: Dick Mudde. The main reasons tigers are endangered —in most cases cases, critically endangered —are illegal hunting for their pelts, meat and body parts (used in folk medicines) as well

Territorial, feisty big cats

Julia Mendezona is a handler at Symbio Wildlife Park and said she had never had any close calls with handling the tigers because of the very strict handling procedures.

"Cinta — the female — can change moods every single day.

"She's a challenge to work with, but being accepted into her inner circle is a really big reward," Ms Mendezona said.

"Jalur — our male — he's big and a bit of a brute.

"He's pretty happy as long as he has a full belly," she said.

Tigers lead solitary lives in the wild so are very territorial, however housing a brother and sister pair together means they will not fight each other.

A fond farewell

Cinta and Jalur have been living at Symbio Wildlife Park for the past eight years after arriving from Auckland Zoo when they were two years old.

The siblings' time at the wildlife park has allowed handlers to educating thousands of visitors about illegal poaching, habitat destruction and the impact that using palm oil products can have on wild populations.

In bidding the tigers farewell Symbio Wildlife Park threw the pair a 10th birthday bash which ran over three days.

Thousands of animal lovers turned out to say goodbye to Cinta and Jalur, which had become crowd favourites.

For the party the tigers feasted on gift-wrapped slabs of deer and chicken meat and a minced-meat jelly cake.

In with the new

The tigers' move to Tasmania Zoo helps to spread the conservation message and allows Symbio Wildlife Park to focus on endangered Australian animals and its breed-to-release programs.

Kevin Fallon is the Marketing Manager at Symbio Wildlife Park and said the park will focus on providing visitors with hands-on animal experiences.

"We are moving towards more interactive and engaging Australian natives, people want to learn by touch, feel and interaction," he said.

New additions to the park will include penguins and tree kangaroos, and a saltwater crocodile will be moving in to the tigers' old enclosure.

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