Pregnant critically endangered Sumatran tigress at Oklahoma City Zoo

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — A Sumatran tigress at the Oklahoma City Zoo is pregnant.

Lola, 10, is due to give birth this summer.

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Sumatran tigers has recommended that the OKC Zoo arrange for Lola to breed with her mate, 14-year-old Kami, according to OKC Zoo officials. .

The OKC Zoo participates in the AZA’s SSP and is committed to protecting Sumatran tigers and helping to maintain their population, zoo officials said.

Lola. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma City Zoo.

This is the second time that Lola has become pregnant after mating with Kami. They welcomed male triplets in July 2017.

Lola is in good health and her keepers will work closely with the zoo’s veterinary team to monitor her pregnancy through ongoing exams and ultrasounds, zoo officials said.

“This pregnancy is great news for Sumatran tigers and we are looking forward to Lola’s due date,” said OKC Zoo Carnivore Curator Tyler Boyd. “Through our involvement with the AZA SSP for Sumatran Tigers, the OKC Zoo is helping to strengthen their population while raising awareness about the conservation of this incredible species and its habitat.

Lola was born on July 9, 2011. She and her three siblings were the first Sumatran tigers born at the OKC Zoo. She gave birth to three males – Eko, Gusti and Ramah – on July 9, 2017. A few days later, she became foster mother to Zoya, a female Amur tiger born at the Philadelphia Zoo to a foster mother who didn’t have the maternal instinct to take care of her.

“This was the first documented case of cross-breeding of tigers of a different subspecies among AZA zoos,” OKC zoo officials said.

The photo goes with the story
Kami. Image courtesy of Oklahoma City Zoo.

Zoya has since moved to Roosevelt Park Zoo, an AZA zoo in Minot, ND She gave birth to three cubs last March.

Eko and Gusti were also placed in other AZA zoos on the recommendations of the Sumatran Tiger SSP. Ramah resides in the OKC Zoo’s Cat Forest Habitat.

There are only about 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild; they live in the forests of Indonesia. It is a critically endangered species threatened by habitat loss caused mainly by the cultivation of oil palm plantations and illegal hunting.

The OKC Zoo is also committed to protecting the species through a partnership with the Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization dedicated to working with local partners to purchase and protect endangered rainforests.

Rainforest Trust used funds donated by the OKC Zoo to purchase 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra.

“This lowland forest is rich in biodiversity and is now designated as a protected area, safe from conversion to oil palm plantations and logging and monitored to prevent illegal activities, such as poaching” , zoo officials said. “Some of the zoo’s most popular and endangered species, including Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and Sumatran tigers, are found here.”

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