Tigers mark their Territory at the Zoo
Monday 10 September 2012
Brand new £3.6m tiger project underway at ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is just six months away from “bringing down the bars” once again, as a project for a brand-new £3.6m enclosure for one of the world’s most endangered animals gets underway.
Tiger Territory, which will be home to critically-endangered Sumatran tigers, is beginning to take shape at ZSL London Zoo, where the 186-year-old site is undergoing a massive redevelopment to make way for the 2,500sqm (27,000sqft) enclosure.
The result of a large public fundraising campaign by ZSL London Zoo, Tiger Territory will give millions of zoo visitors the chance to get close to these incredible animals and provide a central hub for ZSL’s tiger conservation work when it opens in spring 2013.
Visitors to Tiger Territory will embark on a journey through an Indonesian habitat, coming face-to-face with beautiful tigers through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Five times the size of the current tiger enclosure, the new exhibit has been designed with ZSL’s team of tiger keepers, conservationists and experts to ensure that it perfectly suits the big cats’ needs.
Tigers are excellent climbers and like to observe their terrain from a towering vantage point and Tiger Territory will allow them to do just that. The exhibit will feature tall trees for the cats to scale and high feeding poles to encourage their natural predatory behaviours.
Unusually for cats, tigers love water, and visitors will be able to see them hanging out in their custom-built pool. When they’re not playing in the water, the tigers will have all-day access to indoor dens where visitors will be able to see the big cats relaxing.
Carefully planted to mimic the tropical foliage of the island of Sumatra, the Zoo’s team of expert horticulturalists studied images of native Indonesian flora, taken by zookeeper Teague Stubbington on a recent visit to ZSL’s tiger conservation project.
Working around the world to try to reverse the fate of the Sumatran tiger, Tiger Territory will enable ZSL to breed tigers at ZSL London Zoo and learn more about these elusive animals to apply to its field conservation projects.
The European breeding programme and the Global Management Species Programme for Sumatran tigers are both coordinated by ZSL London Zoo – where ZSL’s specialists are responsible for ensuring a healthy and diverse population of tigers in zoos around the world.
With Tiger Territory, 2013 is set to be the year of the tiger at ZSL London Zoo.