Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Photo by Gemma Ortlipp
Sumatran Tiger, Kartika

My name is Courtney and I’m privileged to be a Sumatran Tiger Keeper at Taronga Zoo.

Today is International Tiger Day – a day to not only celebrate this beautiful species, but also show you just how much wild tigers need your help!

Here at Taronga we have three Sumatran Tigers. Mother ‘Jumilah’ was born here in 2003 and ‘Kembali’ and ‘Kartika’ were born with brother, ‘Sakti’, at Taronga on 27 August, 2011. Sakti moved to Taronga Western Plains Zoo earlier this year.

Our tigers stole my heart from the very beginning. Early one morning, on my second day as a keeper on Carnivores, I was lucky enough to walk into an office filled with staff and media and watched on CCTV the birth of the cubs in 2011 – an event many keepers wait their whole life to see!

Some keepers in that room were also present for the birth of Jumilah in 2003, so to witness her giving birth to her own cubs was a very proud moment.

Of the young tigers, Kartika is probably the one who entertains us the most. Anytime we have enrichment items, such as boomer balls or large barrels, on exhibit, she can be found playing with them. We always say that if she was a human, soccer would definitely be her sport of choice!

We hope that in the years to come Kartika will be able to follow in Jumilah’s footsteps and continue our breeding success.

Staggeringly, our tigers represent about 1% of the world’s Sumatran Tiger population, as tiger numbers for all subspecies have collapsed by 97% from 100,000 a century ago.

Our tigers are part of an international breeding program and we’re working with other zoos around the world to ensure we have an insurance population should the Sumatran Tiger become extinct in the wild.

It’s hard to imagine a world without tigers. Sadly in the coming years this could be the reality. How can such an iconic species be under such threat?

Did you know you can help stop the loss of tigers’ forest homes by making some simple choices at the supermarket. Forests are being lost at the alarming rate of approximately a quarter of a million hectares per year to timber and palm oil plantations.

You can help now by:

  • Learning how to choose products made with sustainably produced palm oil.
  • Choosing 100% recycled toilet paper or brands that support sustainable forestry displaying the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.
  • When choosing home furnishings, pick products that use sustainably harvested timber, or don’t use timber at all.

At Taronga, we believe that wildlife and humans can share this planet. By working together with us, you can help us secure a shared future for tigers and humans.

A little over 100 years ago there were more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now there are only 3200, so let’s act quickly together to help.

- Courtney Mahony

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