As Fabi our male Sumatran tiger, leaves Chester Zoo for his new home at Paignton Zoo we spoke with our Curator of Mammals, Tim Rowlands about the contribution that Fabi made during his time here and plans for the future.
“The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered in the wild and we have had an active breeding programme in place here to support the species for future generations.
“Like many of our inhabitants here Fabi is a really crucial part of the European Breeding Programme and following the birth of seven cubs here at the zoo it is time for Fabi to move on.
“Fabi arrived at the zoo in 2009 and soon Kirani, our female, became pregnant and gave birth to two female cubs, Nila and Tila, in 2011. In 2014 two more cubs, Kasih and Nuir followed and finally we welcomed triplets Kasarna, Jaya and Topan this summer.
“Kasarna, Jaya and Topan will remain at the zoo with Kirani for now until they are ready to live independently from their mother. The other offspring have already moved to zoos in Poland, France and Germany as part of the co-ordinated breeding programme, a vital step in ensuring that we secure the future for this population.
“We observe the behaviours of our animals really carefully and any changes to the tiger group are timed to ensure that their welfare isn’t compromised. Tigers are solitary but social animals so it would be quite natural for males and young tigers to live independently or to mate with other females in the wild.
“Inevitably our team get very attached to every animal in their care but we are delighted that Fabi will now go on to have more cubs as part of the breeding programme. We’ll be staying in touch with our colleagues at Paignton Zoo to hear how he is settling in there.
“After a busy few years Kirani will be taking a break from breeding for now. In the meantime we’ll be working with zoos across Europe on strategies for supporting populations of tigers and other endangered species.”
For more information about the involvement that UK zoos have in conservation breeding programmes go to the BIAZA website here.