Twycross Zoo's efforts to help save endangered tigers

One of the new tigers at Twycross Zoo
One of the new tigers at Twycross Zoo

I've always had a soft spot for tigers - maybe that's why I've got a ginger cat as a pet.

In fact, it's hard to believe anyone wouldn't be enthralled by such magnificent creatures (the tigers, I mean, not my cat).

But the sad fact is that tigers are not universally loved. So much so that some species are critically endangered.

That's where Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire comes in.

The award-winning conservation charity has just taken delivery of two Sumatran tigers, which are two of only a few hundred or so left on the planet.

One of the main causes of their imperilment is the destruction of their natural habitat by palm oil producers. Palm oil is such a lucrative product that the temptation to resist cultivating it sadly proves too strong.

Such destruction also deprives the tigers of a lot of their prey such as deer.

Add in the highly desirable, but also highly questionable, trade in tiger body parts for medicinal use and you can see why the animals are in need of protection.

The pair, Jahly and Sialang, have travelled more than 700 miles via road and sea from France, and are the first tigers at the zoo for more than 15 years.

Upon arrival the pair moved in to separate accommodation in their state-of-the-art, multi-million-pound habitat, which at 3,000m² is one of the largest purpose-built Sumatran tiger habitats in the UK.

As with all new animal arrivals, the duo are currently being looked after by the zoo’s experienced keepers and veterinary team as they settle in to their new home.

Sialang, the male, had a look at his new home as he explored his indoor habitat for the first time which features multiple hot rocks for extra comfort and wooden logs to have a scratch on!

Head of life sciences at Twycross Matyas Liptovszky said: “We are delighted to welcome Jahly and Sialang to Twycross Zoo and our experienced animal and veterinary teams will be looking after them and helping them settle in before they meet our visitors from July 13, for the summer holidays.

“We now look forward to being part of the European breeding programme, helping to support and grow this critically endangered species.”

Visitors can see Jahly and Sialang for the first time from Saturday, July 13.

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.