For ten days, the London Zoo saved its newly arrived male Sumatran tiger Asim in a separate enclosure from Melati, the feminine tiger who was alleged to develop into his mate.
Zoologists gave them time to get used to one another’s presence and smells, and waited for what they felt can be the precise time to allow them to get collectively. On Friday, they put the 2 tigers into the identical enclosure — and Asim killed Melati as shocked handlers tried in useless to intervene.
It was a tragic finish to hopes that the 2 would ultimately breed as a part of a Europe-wide tiger conservation program for the endangered Sumatran subspecies.
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“Everybody right here at ZSL London Zoo is devastated by the lack of Melati and we’re heartbroken by this flip of occasions,” the zoo mentioned in a press release.
It mentioned the main focus now’s “caring for Asim as we get by this tough occasion.”
The zoo mentioned its specialists had been fastidiously monitoring the tigers’ reactions to one another since Asim arrived ten days in the past and had seen “constructive indicators” that indicated the 2 needs to be put collectively.
“Their introduction started as predicted, however shortly escalated right into a extra aggressive interplay,” the zoo mentioned.
Contingency plans referred to as for handlers to make use of loud noises, flares and alarms to attempt to distract the tigers, however that didn’t work. They did handle to place Asim, 7, again in a separate paddock, however by that point Melati, 10, was already lifeless.
Asim’s arrival on the zoo final week had been trumpeted in a press launch displaying him on the prowl and describing him as a “strapping Sumatran tiger.”
The group Tigers in Disaster says there are solely estimated to be about 500 to 600 Sumatran tigers within the wild.