Close encounter with a rare Sumatran tiger
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 2:46p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Patrons at Wellington Zoo have had a rare opportunity to see a critically endangered Sumatran Tiger up close.
The female tiger, Cantik, was anesthetised and taken to The Nest this morning for a general health check.
The crowd of mainly toddlers and parents watched through glass walls as x-rays and blood samples were taken from the twenty-year-old tiger in the surgical theatre.
Cantik is one of only two tigers at the zoo and has been hidden from the public while a new enclosure is built.
She is the first tiger to be taken to The Nest since it opened in 2009.
Wellington Zoo’s manager of vets Lisa Argilla says it’s a great opportunity for people to get up close and personal to the tiger.
“You wouldn’t want to pat her while she is awake because she’s a pretty angry girl,” she says.
Sumatran Tigers are the smallest of all tigers and in the wild, have a life expectancy of between 10 and 15 years.
At the age of 20, Cantik is old but has “a few more years in her”, Dr Argilla says.
“She looks pretty spry and doesn’t show she’s getting on in age except for a little bit of arthritic change.”
Watch the video for a montage of Cantik’s procedure.
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