West Midland Safari Park

New arrival at West Midland Safari Park is great news for Conservation

Posted: 17th August, 2022

West Midland Safari Park has recently welcomed a new arrival, in the form of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger.

Dourga, a ten-year-old female, arrived at the tourist attraction on 6 August, from Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland and is already becoming a firm favourite with keepers.

Following a settling-in period, she will be introduced to the Park’s male Sumatran tiger, eight-year-old Nakal, in the hope that they may become a breeding pair.

Originally born in France, at Le Parc des Félins, Dourga has already mothered two cubs and has been identified as a compatible match for Nakal, hoping that the couple will play an important role in protecting their species from extinction.

Head of Wildlife, Angela Potter, said, “We are delighted that Dourga has arrived with us after several months of planning. She travelled well and has settled in very quickly, meeting all her new keepers who were very excited that she has joined the WMSP family. They have reported that she is a very calm and friendly cat, so I can see her quickly becoming a favourite with guests.

“Once she has finished her quarantine period, she will be slowly introduced to our male, Nakal, as part of a European breeding programme recommendation. It is our hope that they will have cubs together in the future. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, so it is very important to bring the right individuals together to ensure the survival of the species in the longer term.”

It is estimated that there are fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild and only 400 of those are Sumatran tigers, gaining them their Critically Endangered status from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Tigers face a very uncertain future, due to threats such habitat loss, conflict with humans and poaching for the illegal trade in tiger body parts.

Subspecies of tigers have already become extinct in Java and Bali, so it is hoped that by involving tigers in collaborative international breeding programmes between zoos and wildlife parks, Sumatran tigers can be saved from the same fate.

The Park’s Conservation and Education teams are championing tigers this summer, by talking to guests about the threats these exceptional big cats face and also telling them some fun facts. If children can recite a tiger fact back, they can earn a special tiger sticker.

The Park is also partnered with the charity WildCats Conservation Alliance, supporting the ‘Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection Project’, which is committed to maintaining a sustainable and effective conservation programme for Sumatran tigers in one of Asia’s largest national parks.

Dourga is currently in an area not viewable to the public while she settles in, but Sumatran tigers Nakal and Hujan, can be seen on the four-mile safari drive-through.

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