Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Sumatran Tigers Finally Mate at National Zoo


Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild, and as their numbers continue to dwindle, zoos are turning to captive breeding as a way to conserve the critically endangered species.

But captive cats don't always approach mating as if the survival of their species depends on it. That's why the Smithsonian's National Zoo excitedly announced this week that its two Sumatran tigers, Kavi and Damai, finally bred.

Zoo officials have documented the careful courtship process on their Tiger Diary blog. They said the tigers first met in the fall of 2012, and were initially only given visual access to each other, kept physically separated by a door. The two were finally brought together in December when Damai, the female, went into heat, and zoo officials prepared for a potentially volatile conjugal visit.

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