Tomorrow, July 29, is International Tiger Day! Here at the Cincinnati Zoo, we have Malayan tigers which are the 2nd smallest species of tiger. They can get up to 7-8 feet long and weigh between 200-300 lbs. We have 2 Malayan tigers here, Izzy and Batari, and they are sisters who were born on Feb 3, 2017. They are both very playful and love enrichment and treats!
Batari is our biggest tiger weighing in at 280 lbs. She is also the chuffiest tiger (a chuff is a happy tiger noise since tigers cannot purr). Batari LOVES enrichment. Enrichment is our way of mentally and/or physically stimulating the animals- we do this with all sorts of different things to engage them like scents, toys, food, etc. Batari’s favorite toy is a big barrel that hangs on the wall and she can spin it to get treats to fall out (she continues to spin even after all the treats are out just for fun!).
Then, we have Izzy- she is our smartest tiger! She picks up on husbandry training so fast! We teach our behaviors that will make their life easier and less stressful. Our tigers are all trained for voluntary injections and blood draws! She is our smallest tiger weighing in at 230 lbs and her favorite food is rabbits too! Her favorite enrichment is rolling around in non-toxic washable paint and making a huge mess 😝
Malayan tigers are found in central and southern parts of the Malay peninsula and southern Thailand in dense tropical forests. They are the top of the food chain and eat whatever they can catch- which include deer, boar, sun bears, young elephants, and tapir. But just because they are top of the food chain does not mean they are doing well in the wild. There are estimated to be only 250-340 individual tigers left in the wild. Of all the tiger species combined there are estimated to be about 3,500 left.
The tiger girls in our care serve as ambassadors for their species in the wild, which aren’t doing so well. As you make connections with Batari and Izzy, we hope they inspire you to consider how to take action to help conserve tigers. One way to help is to buy products that use only sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is found in many products in your home from lipstick to ice cream (it’s everywhere!). Palm oil plants tear down a lot of forests that the tigers call home, so by using products that farm palm oil sustainably you are helping save the tiger’s habitat! Another way to help tigers is by choosing to support reputable conservation organizations, including zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, or AZA. AZA accreditation ensures that an institution meets the highest standards of animal care as well as contributes to conservation and education.
So come out and visit our tigers today and help support tigers in the wild!