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Zoo donates $20,000 to Indonesian Tiger project

Media Release
23 January 2005

Wellington Zoo donates $20,000 to Indonesian Tiger project

An Indonesian tiger conservation project is $20,000 richer thanks to the generosity of Wellington Zoo visitors.

Since the death of Jambi, the Zoo’s much-loved Sumatran tiger in 2001, Zoo staff have been selling tiger cub posters and collecting donations following the Keeper’s Talk at the tiger enclosure each day.

“We also have a donation box at the tiger enclosure that we empty each day. We have waited until we reached $20,000 and just before Christmas sent it off to the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) to put towards a tiger conservation project in the wild,” says Wellington Zoo Trust CEO Alison Lash.

“The money has gone to 21st Century Tiger to help fund the Jambi project in Indonesia which is researching how tigers utilise palm oil plantations as new habitats. One of the main goals is trying to find out the mechanisms that allow tigers to successfully inhabit these areas, which will then suggest ways people can safely live alongside them.

“Funnily enough, the project team were so gobsmacked at the size of our donation, that they emailed us to check whether the amount was a misprint!”

Alison says obviously the donation was made before the Tsunami hit Indonesia, and while it’s not thought many animals were affected by the tragedy, the donation will be even more important for the tiger fund as all other available money is poured into relief efforts and the Indonesian economy rebuilds.

“We are delighted to be able to have made this donation and to make a contribution to the international conservation efforts of ARAZPA. And we are very grateful to the generosity of our Zoo visitors.”

Wellington Zoo currently has two Sumatran Tigers – Cantik (a 12-year-old female) and her male offspring Rokan (an 8-year-old male). Cantik’s mate Jambi tragically died in 2001 after eating a carcass contaminated with pentobarbital – a drug used to euthanase animals.

Jambi and Cantik had been part of an international breeding programme aimed at preventing Sumatran Tigers’ extinction, and had successfully given birth to six cubs – five of whom have been transferred to other Zoos here and in Australia.

Ms Lash says the Zoo would like to get a mate for either Cantik or Rokan. But very few tigers of different bloodlines are currently available within the captive breeding programme so it might be some time before this occurs.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered in the wild – there are estimated to be only 400 left – due to the destruction of their natural habitat and the black market for tiger body parts, skins and stuffed animals.


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