NZ’s biggest and newest tiger enclosure
November 23, 2006
NZ’s biggest and newest tiger enclosure to open at Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch next week
One of the biggest and newest tiger enclosures in Australasia will open to the public at Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch next week.
The $500,000 state of the art tiger area features two critically-endangered Sumatran tigers from the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia.
Keeper Graeme Petrie spent time getting to know the tiger brothers Sendiri and Dumai before flying to Christchurch.
Tigers have been at the top of Orana’s wish list since 1999 when the last ones died of old age. Their visitor surveys have found tigers are the number one animal people want to see.
``Although the tigers are housed in large natural enclosures, we have incorporated a number of innovative features that will help visitors meet the animals up-close,’’ chief executive Lynn Anderson said today.
``Research has shown our visitors like an immersing experience with animals and we have designed viewing opportunities in the tiger area that our visitors will really enjoy.’’
Orana is New Zealand’s only open range zoo and is sited on a large land space – 80 ha. It is home to over 400 animals from more than 70 different species.
Anderson said it was great tigers had returned to Orana after a seven year break.
``They are stunning animals and our team just loves working with them. The new tiger habitat contains three separate night dens and day exhibits, two massive water pools (holding 700,000 litres), a dramatic central viewing pavilion and two raised viewing platforms.
``This tiger project is the most ambitious project the park has embarked on for years.’’
The new facility was only possible following a substantial bequest from the estate of Leio Wilfrid Timperley through the Christchurch City Council and a grant from the Josef Langer Charitable Trust.
The tiger brothers are from a subspecies which are critically endangered and there are less than 500 Sumatran Tigers roaming in the wild.
Orana Wildlife Park is part of a campaign to help increase their numbers globally.
The tigers have been placed opposite the lions and they will add a significant new dimension to the visitor experience.
“It is just brilliant that in Orana’s 30th year of operation we have completed such an important development,’’ Anderson said.
The Orana Wildlife Trust is a charitable trust which owns and operates the park as a not-for-profit organisation.