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Two’s Company...

posted 3 Jun 2011, 06:34 by Alistar Frater
Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are hoping for a match as new female Sumatran Tiger joins Tibor

Edinburgh Zoo’s keepers are hoping for a love match when Baginda, a female Sumatran tiger, meets Tibor, the Zoo’s four year old male Sumatran tiger.

Eight year old Baginda has flown into Edinburgh from Benidorm and has moved into her new home at the Zoo, in the enclosure next to Tibor. The two tigers are yet to meet, but are being slowly getting used to the scents and sounds of each other.

Alison Maclean, carnivore team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said:

“We’re hoping that when Tibor and Baginda meet in a few weeks’ time they’ll accept each other and become a breeding pair.

“Baginda is currently settling into her new enclosure, but over the coming weeks we’ll be building up to the day they meet properly. We’ll swap the tigers between the two enclosures, just so they get used to each other’s scent, and then they will meet through a mess patrician. The tigers will dictate timings, but if all goes well they should spend some proper time together in six to eight weeks.

“In the wild Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and the lowest estimate is that there could only be 300 left in the wild, so the birth of Sumatran tiger cubs would be extremely significant.”

Sumatran tigers are a subspecies of tiger only found in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its stripes are narrower than other tigers, which are great for camouflage in tall grasses, and their small size means they can move quickly through the jungle. Sumatran tigers also have distinctive beards and manes, especially the males. In the wild Sumatran tigers prey mainly on wild boar, Malayan tapirs and deer, but also monkeys, fish and birds.