1. ITV Report

Keepers hope romance is in the air for tigers at Blackpool Zoo

All smiles: Zambar at Blackpool Zoo Photo: Stephen Birtwistle

Keepers at Blackpool Zoo are hoping love is in the air after welcoming a new arrival to their Big Cat house.

The zoo has greeted four year old tiger Alyona, from her birthplace at SafariparkBeekse Bergen in the Netherlands, in the hope she will hit it off with fellow Amur tiger Zambar.

Over the coming weeks Zambar and Alyona will be gradually introduced and keepers are hoping for the pitter-patter of tiny stripy feet in the not-too-distant future.

Zambar came to Blackpool in 2010 from Marwell Wildlife, where he was born and hand-reared by keepers after being rejected by his mother.

Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Coordinator at Blackpool Zoo said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Alyona to the zoo and she has been an instant hit with keepers.

"Thousands of our visitors have taken Zambar to their hearts and I know that they have been looking forward to meeting his new mate.

Up close and personal: Alyona at Blackpool Zoo Credit: Lynne Gorrie

"Alyona is absolutely beautiful and seeing them both out in the paddock promises to be a majestic sight!

– Jude Rothwell, Blackpool Zoo

"Until then, everyone can see her in the Big Cat house where she is settling in very nicely.''

The Amur Tiger is the largest member of the big cat family and is an endangered species. There are only around 500 Amur Tigers left in the wild and they are found in isolated populations around the Amur river valley in the far east of Russia and on China's north east border.

The remaining wild population continues to be under threat due to habitat loss and poaching.