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Oz-some! Auckland Zoo's tiger is here!

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL
MEDIA RELEASE


15 September 2006


Oz-some! Auckland Zoo’s tiger is here!

One of the most highly anticipated arrivals at Auckland Zoo, Sumatran tiger Oz, is here, healthy and ready to meet his public!

Twenty-month-old Oz (Hebrew for strength, courage and power) arrived from Ramat Gan Zoo, Tel Aviv, yesterday and has been given a clean bill of health by zoo vet Richard Jakob-Hoff, who says, “I have had a good look at Oz and he is in great health.”

After undergoing vet and health checks on arrival, Oz settled into his indoor den where he spent his first night on New Zealand soil. This morning he was given full access into his outdoor enclosure, which is open to public viewing. Tiger team leader Andrew Coers states, “He seems to have settled really well – we are thrilled, as I am sure all visitors to the zoo will be too!”

Oz has travelled with his keeper, Doron Tam, from Israel. Doron will be assisting with Oz’s integration into Auckland Zoo for the next 10 days. Andrew says, “It is great to have Doron here at Auckland Zoo. He knows Oz’s personality well and will be able to help Oz settle in and assist the tiger team.”

New zoo sponsor, Bakers Delight is also celebrating the arrival of Oz. Bakers Delight Country Manager Colleen Milne says, “As a major contributor to the Save The Tiger campaign, we share the excitement that Oz is finally here. We look forward to seeing his reaction to his new home in the Bakers Delight Tiger Territory. It’s an amazing purpose built enclosure that we hope will really impress everyone including its star attraction.”

His enclosure offers visitors to the zoo a great opportunity to see Oz through a large glass viewing window. Andrew says, “We designed his enclosure to maximise the experience visitors to the zoo will have. If Oz is near the front of the exhibit, you will be just metres away!”

Integral to bringing Oz to Auckland has been the zoo’s “Tiger Time” campaign, which raised money to help build the new enclosure. This campaign also contributed to the zoo’s conservation fund, which supports the 21st Century Tiger Project to protect tigers in the wild of Sumatra. Andrew says, “We see the support of this project as fundamental to assist all Sumatran tigers, and the zoo will continue to support this project.”

Bakers Delight is also continuing its support for the conservation of the Sumatran tigers with a fundraising campaign in store and its new sponsorship of the Bakers Delight Tiger Territory. Colleen says, “We are delighted to provide official support for the zoo’s new tigers – Oz and Molek. We value our new partnership with Auckland Zoo and feel a natural affinity with its family audience and wholesome values. We are privileged to be involved in such an important initiative that will have a significant role in saving this critically endangered species”

There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild and Oz’s arrival holds special significance, as he will enable the zoo to progress its captive breeding programme for this critically endangered species. Female Sumatran tiger Molek is heading up from Hamilton Zoo later this year to be paired with Oz.

Auckland Zoo is open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm. Normal zoo admission prices apply. While Oz has access to his outdoor enclosure, he also has access to his inside den, which is not on public display. Members of the public should be aware that, while outdoor access is available, Oz might prefer to stay inside. Viewing of Oz is not guaranteed.


ENDS

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