DENVER – If you’ve been looking for an excuse to go to the Denver Zoo, we have one for you: The zoo has a new tiger!
Yuri, an 8-year-old, 435-pound Amur tiger, arrived in late January all the way from the Bronx Zoo, according to Denver Zoo officials.
The tiger was brought at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which aims to ensure the animal's survival and the health of their gene pool.
Zoo officials hope to pair Yuri with 8-year-old Nikita, “and, with any luck, make a very valuable contribution to his endangered species.”
Curators are now waiting for Yuri to adjust to her new home in order to introduce him to Nikita.
“The two tigers can already see each other from various points in the exhibit, and Nikita is showing signs that she's ready to meet her new mate,” said Assistant Curator of Carnivores Janee Zakoren. “You can hear them ‘talking’ to each other most afternoons. She is definitely excited by his presence.”
Zoo officials say that because Yuri hasn’t sired any cubs yet, his genetics are “particularly valuable to the zoo’s collective efforts to save the species and maintain a healthy, genetically-diverse population of Amur tigers.”
Amur Tigers are considered an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The biggest threats to these tigers come from poaching, both for their fur and their other body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
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