The Sumatran Tiger is one of the most unique members of the big cat family. Some scientists believe that this version of the tiger is an entirely different species due to its genetic differences from other tigers. A few weeks ago, the Adelaide Zoo welcomed the first Sumatran to its grounds. Rhani, an eleven-year-old female from the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra, made her long journey accompanied by several zookeepers and veterinarians to ensure that she remained comfortable.
One of the many keepers that joined Rhani on the journey was Claire Earl, an Adelaide Zoo Carnivore Keeper. “Transporting large carnivores is a very exciting and challenging task, the keepers at National Zoo did a lot of training with Rhani before she left to get used to her travel crate.” Said Earl.
Once the keepers determined that Rhani was comfortable enough to stay in her transfer crate for the 14-hour journey from Canberra to Adelaide, they made the trip.
When the tiger arrived at the zoo, Rhani was transferred to an off-limits quarantine area where she has to spend 30 days to be further looked at by the Adelaide vet team. This 30-day process will allow Rhani to gain a sense of comfort in her new home and spend time with her new neighbour, 18-year-old tiger Assiqua.
Rhani’s arrival is the first of two important moves for the Adelaide Zoo. The South Australia capital zoo is hoping to bring over a potential partner for Rhani in the coming months in order to create a breeding program for the Sumatran tiger. Experts believe that the wild tiger population is at an all-time low, with less than 400 remaining. The diminishing population is mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching. The Adelaide Zoo appears to be at the forefront for pushing for conservation of this fascinating animal.