Saturday, 16 February, 2019

New tiger introduced to London Zoo immediately kills its mate

Sumatran tiger Asim who mauled his intended mate to death Sumatran tiger Asim who mauled his intended mate to death Credit ZSL London Zoo ZSL London Zoo
Kenny Thornton | 09 February, 2019, 18:03

An endangered Sumatran tiger was mauled to death at London Zoo on Friday, just moments after it was introduced to a potential mate for the first time.

They had shown "obvious positive signs" when they were kept in adjoining enclosures within each other's sight for the previous 10 days, a spokesman for the zoo said.

While things initially got off to a slow start, with both tigers described by the zoo as "cautious", they quickly turned serious and Asim began to get aggressive with his female counterpart. They also announced that in the wake of Melati's death, Tiger Territory would be closed for the day and they would be focusing on Asim's health.

The shocked handlers tried to use loud noises, flare, and alarms to try to distract the two tigers, but to no avail.

"Everyone here at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the loss of Melati and we are heartbroken by this turn of events", the zoo said in a statement.

Trained staff eventually managed to secure Asim in a separate paddock in order for vets to safely attend Melati, but they confirmed that she had died in the attack.

"We're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our lovely Melati", she said.

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"As with all big cats, introductions, however carefully planned, are always considered to be high risk", it said.

It said: "Our focus right now is on caring for Asim, as we get through this hard event".

Asim and Melati were matched through the European Endangered Species Program for Sumatran tigers, which seeks to rescue the cats from near-extinction, the zoo said.

'Asim is a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life - we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our attractive Melati'.

In 2013, Melati gave birth to two cubs but one fell into a pool and drowned.

The Sumatran tiger, which naturally lives in the forests and jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia, is now classified as critically endangered and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened animals.

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