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English safari park gets 3 Siberian tigers from French zoo

Tigers come in from the cold
By John Ballard

THEIR natural habitat is the frozen wilderness of Russia but west Wiltshire will soon be a home from home for three Siberian tigers.

Shouri, Soundari and Svetli are being unveiled to the public at Longleat Safari Park this summer and are set to become one of the highlights of the new season.

The trio, who are currently in quarantine at Longleat, are 18-month-old females and were brought to Britain from Mulhouse Zoo in France towards the end of last year.

The Siberian tiger is the world’s biggest cat and an endangered species after almost being hunted to extinction, so visitors to Longleat will have a the chance to see these majestic creatures at close quarters.

Head warden Keith Harris said: “Our visitors have found the tiger enclosure hugely interesting over the years and when one of our tigers sadly passed away last year, it left Longleat with just one tiger, Kadu.

“We are delighted we have these three Siberian tigers and look forward to the time when they will be able to enthral our visitors for the first time.”

The tiger enclosure will remain in its current location near the lion reserve when Shouri, Soundari and Svetli are released.

Three warthogs, the first to come to Longleat, are also being introduced to the East African Reserve, and are set to be a hit with their comical look and antics.

A new way of viewing the animals is also being launched in 2007, with safari boats The Lady Bath and The Lady Lenka taking visitors on sea lion escorted cruises on Half Mile Lake, and it is not just the safari park wringing in the changes.

The restoration and maintenance project on the Longleat Hedge Maze is nearing completion following the construction of a series of wooden bridges throughout the 2.72km maze, and the re-roofing of the estate house begins this year. A spokesman for Longleat said: “Longleat welcomed a record-breaking 789,000 visitors in 2006, offering a full programme of activities throughout the season, and 2007 is set to be another memorable and successful year for staff, visitors and animals alike.”

All attractions at Longleat will be open daily from Saturday February 17 to Sunday February 25, weekends only from Saturday March 3 to Sunday March 25, and daily again from March 31 to November 4.

8:58am Wednesday 7th February 2007

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