4 Apr 2017

Since their big move, our carnivore team have been keeping a close eye on their progress and we’re pleased to report back to you that the family are settling in extremely well.

Fabi, Kirana and their three cubs, Kasarna, Jaya and Topan, have enjoyed discovering their new environment, which has been created to reflect their natural habitat and includes a pool, shelters, thick bamboo, a stream and plenty of high vantage points.

The family have been spotted using the elevated areas – such as above the large tunnel which visitors are able to walk through – looking out across the landscape. Tigers love height as it makes them feel secure. The nine month old cubs are really enjoying their new space; seeing the enclosure as one big play area! They’ve been spotted running around, play fighting and getting muddy – like young ones do.

They have even been testing the waters – dipping their paws into the new deeper pool. Yes – these cats certainly like water! You may be surprised to learn that Sumatran tigers have webbed paws, making them great swimmers!

Watch the short video below which shows the family exploring their new home…

As we explained on our previous blog, the carnivore team worked hard to prepare the tigers for their big move. Lucy Manning, assistant team manager of the Chester Zoo carnivore team, told us more about how they did it and how the tigers have been settling in.

The tigers are settling into their new home fine. They now have access to the large outside habitat with the pool and hot rocks. They like the high area above the tunnel, where they see everything going on around them.

We worked to get the tigers to be comfortable sitting in the crates that we then used to move them in. We had plenty of time to do this and all five tigers were happy to go in the crate by the time the day of the move came. On the day we used two separate crates and it took two journeys to move all of the tigers over to the new house.

The two adult tigers were used to the crate; we also use this set-up for weighing them. The cubs were quite young when we started introducing them to the crates and we had to build their confidence around the keepers before they would come in. 

Despite being ferocious predators, tigers are secretive animals and can be very wary of change. It’s important to let them adjust to their new environment slowly and give them space so they do not feel overwhelmed.  Any negative experiences can stay with them for a long time, which would be detrimental to their acceptance of their new home and our day to day husbandry with them.

We are hoping that the tigers become 100% comfortable in the new habitat – for tigers this would involve seeing them relaxed and sleeping.

The keeping staff are happy with the tigers progress and how they’ve settled in to their new surroundings; they’re now ready for visitors. The island of Sumatra is now open to the public.

When exploring the island make sure you take your time when looking for our beautiful tiger family. The new enclosure provides a number of viewing areas throughout, but don’t forget to practice your explorer skills – these big cats can be elusive so you need to keep your eyes peeled! Be patient and persevere, it’s worth the wait when you spot these magnificent animals up close.

We hope you’ll be able to come and visit them in their new home soon!