For several years the species of cat we have chosen to specialise in has been the tiger. The zoo is now home to seven tigers, four of whom have circus backgrounds.
Although we have successfully bred in the past, we don't breed our current tigers. This is for a few reasons:
- Their bloodlines are impure or unknown. This means that they can't be part of official breeding programmes for their subspecies and that breeding them would not be valuable for tiger conservation. Some also have genetic conditions which we don't want them to pass on.
- They are too old. We are more of a retirement home than a matchmaking service!
- Caring for cubs is a big commitment. If we do decide to breed any of our animals we need to be sure we know what will happen to the babies when they grow up.
- In particular, breeding white tigers is not ethical practise. There has been so much inbreeding in their history that they are now prone to serious health problems. Our own white tiger, Zena, has suffered from eye problems for many years, and in 2006 had to have one of her eyes removed due to glaucoma.
Our tiger conservation work focuses on education and protecting tigers in the wild. Read about our tiger project in India
Our tigers act as ambassadors for their species, and we hope that visiting them will inspire our visitors to care about efforts to protect them.
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