Taronga’s Sumatran Tiger, Satu, has moved to Australia Zoo in Queensland this week, as part of the conservation breeding program for his critically endangered species.
The father of Taronga’s three tiger cubs left Sydney on Monday, travelling to the Sunshine Coast by road in a specially-designed transport container.
Using his favourite foods as a form of positive reinforcement, keepers have spent the past couple of months training Satu to enter his transport container so he was relaxed and comfortable for the journey north.
Satu’s temporary move to Australia Zoo on a breeding loan represents another important step in Taronga’s ongoing efforts to help save Sumatran Tigers from extinction.
“It’s certainly sad to see Satu leave, but he’s gone to a great zoo that’s committed to tiger conservation and he’ll continue to play a vital role in the conservation breeding program for these magnificent big cats,” said Taronga carnivore keeper, Megan Lewis.
Born in 2005 at Wilhelma Zoo in Germany, Satu moved to Taronga Zoo in 2008 to be paired with resident female, Jumilah, to introduce valuable new genetics to the region.
He settled in quickly upon arrival in Sydney and breeding efforts were ultimately successful, with Jumilah giving birth to two male cubs and one female on 27 August 2011.
The births provided an important boost to the critically endangered species, with fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remaining in the wild due to habitat destruction and poaching.
“Sumatran Tigers have suffered greatly from forest clearance for palm oil plantations. This is why the efforts of zoos like Taronga and Australia Zoo to maintain a healthy and viable insurance population is so important to the future of the species,” said Megan.
Taronga’s tiger conservation efforts increasingly operate in the wild, as well as at Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Taronga supports field conservation projects in Bukit Tigapuluh and Way Kambas National Park, two of the last refuges for Sumatran Tigers in the wild.
Visitors can continue to see Jumilah and her now three-year-old cubs, Kembali, Sakti and Kartika, in their home at Taronga Zoo.