- Created on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 16:43
- Written by Imperial Valley News
Escondido, California - Two Sumatran tiger cubs stepped out timidly into the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's 3-acre tiger habitat as they made their public debut on Tuesday. After a few minutes, the 3-month-olds raced after mother Delta and soon began to play, often on top of her.
The male cubs, Thomas and Conrad, will be on exhibit on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, initially from 9 a.m. to noon. As the cubs get older and bigger their time on exhibit will expand. The cubs, born on March 5, are still nursing but are also eating meat. Thomas weighs 31 pounds and Conrad 30 pounds.
The Safari Park is home to six Sumatran tigers and is fund-raising to build a new, forested tiger haven that will offer up-close views of these fascinating felines and highlight conservation efforts for the species. The habitat will have rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnapping.
In May, the Safari Park received its largest gift ever - a $9 million challenge gift - to build a new tiger habitat. In order to receive the donation, the Park must raise $2 million by the end of the year. The Park has raised nearly half of the challenge goal so far. To learn more about the new Tiger Trail exhibit or to help meet the challenge, visit www.tigermatch.org.
There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020 unless drastic measures are taken to protect and preserve it.
Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to human-tiger conflict, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers, who illegally sell tiger body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by making smart consumer decisions to avoid products that harm tiger habitat and refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.