West Midland Safari Park to aid critically endangered arrival before extinct
West Midlands Safari Park (WMSP) have welcomed a new Sumatran tiger in the hope that mating will boost species numbers.
Dourga, a 10-year-old female, arrived at the park on 6 August and - despite being in a settling in period at the moment - is hoped by the keepers to mate with their eight-year-old male, Nakal.
As one of less than 400 Sumatran Tigers left in existence, the Head of Wildlife at WMSP, Angela Potter said: "Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, so it is very important to bring the right individuals together to ensure the survival of the species in the longer term.
"Once she has finished her quarantine period, she will be slowly introduced to our male, Nakal, as part of a European breeding programme recommendation. It is our hope that they will have cubs together in the future."
Dourga has come from Forga Wildlife Park, Ireland where she has already mothered two cubs.
The 10-year-old is believed to make a compatible couple with Nakal and is already becoming a firm favourite with the park's keepers.
The Sumatran tiger
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates there are less than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, gaining them a 'critically endangered' status.
Tigers face a very uncertain future, due to habitat loss, conflict with humans and poaching for the illegal trade and other threats to life.
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest surviving subspecies, so wildlife parks and zoos hope mating programmes will help save the breed from the same fate of the Java and Bali tigers.
Potter explained: "They have reported that she is a very calm and friendly cat, so I can see her quickly becoming a favourite with guests."
Dourga is currently in an area not viewable to the public while she settles in, but Sumatran tigers Nakal and Hujan, can be seen on the four-mile safari drive.