Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo welcomed its first critically endangered Malayan Tiger cub on September 11, and the beautiful girl, named Berisi, recently made her public debut!
The cub was born to Bzui (pronounced Ba-ZOO-ee), and has been cared for, by mom, in a den off exhibit.
“The cub is growing normally and nursing well,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, the Zoo’s Chief Zoological Officer. “Our Zoo is proud to be working to preserve a species like the Malayan tiger, which is facing a growing number of threats in the wild.”
New mother, Bzui, arrived at the Zoo last spring to join her mate, Mata, on a recommendation from the Association of Zoo’s and Aquarium’s Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan.
The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) subspecies was not recognized officially until 2004. They are the smallest in size of all tiger species, with an average weight of 260 pounds for adult males and 220 pounds for females.
Poaching and rapid habitat decline are the primary causes for their continued population decline. Heightened human and animal conflict, due to expanding development, has also been a factor in their endangerment. For these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Malayan Tiger as “Critically Endangered”.
Aside from maintaining a breeding program, the Lowry Park Zoo also offers regular tiger trainer talks and demonstrations, at their Asian Gardens habitat. By helping guests understand and make a connection with animals at their facility, the Zoo hopes they can encourage others to care and protect this at-risk species.