Endangered Tiger Mauled To Death By Potential Mate At London Zoo
An endangered tiger was mauled to death by her potential mate at ZSL London Zoo yesterday (February 8).
Melati, a 10-year-old Sumatran tiger and long-term resident at the zoo, sadly passed away shortly after being introduced to male tiger Asim.
Asim was moved to the zoo from a Danish safari park 10 days ago, as part of the European-wide conservation breeding programme.
It was hoped Asim would be Melati’s perfect mate so they would breed in the future.
According to the WWF, less than 400 Sumatran tigers exist today. In 1978, experts estimated there were 1,000.
A statement issued by London Zoo explained how the pair were in adjoining enclosures ‘where they could see, smell and react to each other’ before being brought together.
Following careful monitoring of the tigers’ reactions to each other, zoo experts observed obvious positive signs, and felt it was the right time to introduce seven-year-old Asim, and ten-year-old Melati.
As with all big cats, introductions, however carefully planned, are always considered to be high risk.
This morning, the two tigers were in separate paddocks and the adjoining door was opened to allow them to meet.
Today our beloved Sumatran tigress Melati died while being introduced to new male Asim for the first time. Everyone at ZSL London Zoo is heartbroken by this turn of events. Tiger Territory will remain closed while our team focus on caring for Asim: https://t.co/KAoW0rziPN pic.twitter.com/CHcVKKMdz4
— ZSL London Zoo (@zsllondonzoo) February 8, 2019
While the two tigers were ‘initially cautious’, tensions ‘quickly escalated’ with the interaction becoming more aggressive.
Although staff at the zoo attempted to distract the tigers by using loud noises, flares and alarms, ‘Asim had already overpowered Melati’.
Zookeepers quickly moved Asim to a separate paddock so they could safely get to Melati, but despite the best efforts of the vets, the tiger sadly died.
The statement added ‘everyone at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events’.
Tiger Territory remained closed for the rest of the day while the team cared for Asim.
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