TACOMA, Wash. – New year, new tiger.
There’s a cool new cat in town, and he’s making his official public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this weekend, with appearances in the main Asian Forest Sanctuary Waterfall Exhibit at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Keepers will talk about Bandar and give him some special enrichments.
His name is Bandar, and he’s a 5-year-old male Sumatran tiger here to help his endangered species grow in numbers through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP).®
There are just 83 Sumatran tigers in North American zoos. Only about 300-500 of the critically endangered tigers remain in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Bandar, born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo on Aug. 5, 2013, is a potential mate for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s female Sumatran tigers, Kali, 5, and Kirana, 4. Both were born at the Tacoma zoo.
Bandar arrived last month from the Akron Zoo and has been getting accustomed to his new home.
Males Mohan, 14, and Dumai, 6, also live in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary habitat. Dumai is the brother of Kali and Kirana.
However, Dumai, who was born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, is soon scheduled to depart for Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore., under a recommendation by the SSP. Zoo guests will have an opportunity to see him and bid him farewell this weekend. He will be part of the Asian Forest Sanctuary keeper talks at 12:30 p.m. each day.
“We are delighted to welcome Bandar to Point Defiance Zoo,” said General Curator Dr. Karen Goodrowe Beck, who holds a Ph.D. in reproductive physiology and serves as vice chair of the Sumatran tiger SSP. “Maintaining genetic diversity among the population of Sumatran tigers in North America is critical to our conservation mission for the species,” she added.
The subspecies is on the brink of vanishing in the wild due to poaching, habitat loss and other forms of human-tiger conflict. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium annually supports anti-poaching efforts in Sumatra through The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund.
In addition, the zoo’s Paws for the Cause campaign encourages the use of products containing sustainably produced palm oil in order to help preserve habitat for Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards and other wildlife.
More information about the zoo’s conservation commitment is available at www.pdza.org/care/save-tigers.
The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with closures on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the winter months. The zoo will be open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21.