Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Tiger at Reid Park Zoo

“Sita,” the female Malayan tiger came to Tucson from the Bronx Zoo,
in NY. The 10 yr. old female is on loan to Reid Park Zoo indefinitely as
part of the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). Reid Park Zoo works
closely with other zoological facilities to make careful decisions
regarding placement of animals, potential breeding matches, and animal
welfare. Although there is no guarantee for compatibility, the hope is
that “Sita,” and the Zoo’s current male, “Baheem,” will
produce offspring in the future.

“Sita” will have sole access to the exhibit, allowing her to
explore the habitat and learn her way around. She will be introduced to
the Zoo’s male tiger at a later date. “Sita’s arrival represents
Reid Park Zoo's commitment to protect and conserve endangered
wildlife,” says Jim Schnormeier, the Zoo's General Curator. “It
is our goal to provide the citizens of Tucson with a dynamic animal
collection to enjoy and learn from. Our participation in the Species
Survival Plan also helps ensure a future for these animals.” Tigers
are highly endangered due to loss of habitat, human encroachment,
hunting, and trade in illegal tiger parts for traditional medicine. It
is estimated that only 500 Malayan tigers remain in the wild.

Minor modifications to the tiger enclosure have been made to
accommodate future cubs. Upgrades include a yard divider that will allow
all animals to be on display while allowing the male to be separated
from the female and cubs. Additional new features include an area where
the public will be able to observe daily animal training and care, and a
tug-of-war interactive for the public to test their strength against a

Reid Park Zoo is 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call 791-4022 for directions and
admission information, or visit the Zoo’s website