ON Saturday 6 July, we were lucky enough to go along and have a sneak peek of the brand-new, state-of-the-art habitat for Sumatran Tigers at Twycross Zoo – and we wanted to tell you all about it.
We have to share with you how impressed we were to see the multi-million-pound habitat, which at 3,000m² is one of the largest purpose-built Sumatran tiger habitats in the UK.
We were treated to a tour of the habitat and got to speak to Zookeepers about the tigers, the new enclosure and what the future holds for the tigers. You can see a video at the bottom of this article to learn more.
The habitat is currently home to two tigers which live separately – Female, Jahly, who came from Boissierre Zoo, near Nantes in France and her male housemate, Sialang, who came from Obterre Zoo, also in France.
Seeing the habitat was amazing, although it sounded large at 3,000 square meters, you only really appreciate its size when stood next to it!
Surrounded by reassuringly high fences, the habitat is a mixture of terrain with plants, rocks for the tigers to climb and lay on, as well as two outdoor pools, the perfect addition due to the species’ love of water!
For visitors, there are plenty of viewing areas all around the habitat, which is split into two so that the tigers can roam separately but still interact with each other if they wish.
The best bit of the habitat as far as we are concerned – or, as the Tigers have come from France, the ‘pièce de résistance’ – is the bespoke glass tunnel which provides a real WOW for all visitors.
You can experience both tigers up close like never before, as they walk around and over the glass tunnel so that families can see these critically endangered beauties from all angles. It is expected that the Tigers may even lay on the glass and enjoy the warmth in the sun.
The indoor section of the habitat has also been thought about and is not simply a ‘shed’ for the Tigers to sleep – their spacious new home features multiple hot rocks to provide extra comfort and to mimic the warmth of their native Indonesia.
There are large windows that allow visitors to see into the indoor section of the habitat, as well as smaller windows at different heights for a sneaky look inside.
Whilst we only saw Female, Jahly on the day we went, we will definitely be back for another visit to see her male housemate, Sialang. We were told that Sialang was still being a little grumpy after his trip and so he was in hiding.
We highly recommend you paying a visit to Twycross Zoo – particularly if you have not been for a number of years as there have been many developments and improvements.
We loved our visit there so much, that whilst at the zoo we became members because we wanted to give something back for the amazing conservation work they do.
It is the only place in the UK to see all four types of great ape – bonobo, gorilla, orangutan and chimpanzee in their amazing Chimpanzee Eden where you feel part of the rainforest.
You can also see one of the most endangered big cats on the planet – the Amur leopard and say hello to their new arrival, the critically-endangered Eastern Black rhino.
European breeding programme
The arrival of Sumatran tigers at Twycross zoo is crucial for the European breeding programme working collaboratively to contribute to preserving the wild population which currently consists of less than 400 individuals left in Sumatra, Indonesia.
The main threats to the wild populations include:
- Poaching for their bones, fur and whiskers for medicine and trophy
- Human-wildlife conflict, where tigers and humans are encroaching areas towards each other
- Habitat loss, due to agricultural land use
- Climate change which affects the movement and location of tiger prey species
According to a survey from TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of estimated Sumatran tiger deaths – amounting to at least 40 animals per year.
Twycross Zoo is a charity and relies on the generosity and kindness of its visitors to support its ongoing conservation work. For more information or to buy tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org.