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Zoo gets 5 new cats

Published: 
Thursday, March 20, 2014
President of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Gupte Lutchmedial, feeds one the white Bengal Tigers which arrived at the Emperor Valley Zoo, St Ann's, on Tuesday during their unveiling to the public yesterday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE

The Emperor Valley Zoo unveiled its new arrivals to the public yesterday: Three Bengal tigers (one male, two females) and two lionesses.  At the zoo yesterday, the animals played with each other. They are being housed in three temporary separate enclosures between the ocelots’ and lions’ habitats, as their permanent enclosure is still under construction. One of the lionesses and two of the tigers, including the male, are white. 

 

The zookeepers came out to feed the animals soon after they were unveiled to the media and this brought on competitiveness between the tigers. They each eat approximately 20 to 30 kilos of meat a day. They arrived in Trinidad on Tuesday after travelling since Sunday from South Africa where they were bred in captivity. They were acquired from Bester Birds and Animals Zoo Park, Pretoria, for approximately US$75,000. 

 

Mike Bester, the owner of the zoo park, met Zoological Society staff at a conference in the US, where they discussed the possibility of the zoo acquiring a number of animals. Bester, who flew in with the animals, said yesterday they were “very relaxed with the change of the environment.” He explained: “The tigers may only look aggressive but they are rather docile and people-oriented while the lioness are more timid and less people-oriented.”

 

He said the tigers’ permanent enclosure would be even bigger than where they were before. Bester will be staying in Trinidad for the balance of the week to make sure that the animals settle in. Benjamin de la Rosa, the vice-president of the Zoological Society, said there were plans to bring in other animals, such as chimpanzees, for a new exhibit which was under construction.