By Billie Harris – 6/17/2009
Lansing, MI – Once again, the Potter Park Zoo is celebrating a wave of new additions. Over the past several months Potter Park Zoo has welcomed an array of new arrivals, including a 230-pound female Amur tiger that will make her public debut at the zoo Wednesday, June 17, 2009.
The four-year-old tiger named Nikka arrived on April 7 from the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Though she arrived several weeks ago, larger animals routinely spend time in quarantine and/or acclimation in the zoo before they are ready for an exhibit. However, Nikka may still require a period of time to adjust to her larger outdoor surroundings and will be intermittently on exhibit, explains Dr. Tara Harrison, the zoo’s veterinarian and animal curator.
With the arrival of Nikka and the departure of the zoo’s two other females, Zeya and Talalia, to Sedgwick County Zoo, Potter Park Zoo will now have a total population of two tigers.
“We are delighted to welcome Nikka to Potter Park Zoo,” said Dr.
Harrison. “We are deeply committed to the care and management of endangered species such as Amur tigers, and are very excited to introduce her into our Feline/Primate Building.”
Nikka’s transfer to Potter Park Zoo was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative-management program in which the zoo participates.
SSP coordinators are hoping to pair this new female Amur tiger with Potter Park Zoo’s male tiger, Sivaki, for breeding.
“The Amur tiger is a critically endangered species,” explains zoo Director, Gerry Brady. “Nikka’s transfer and breeding recommendation is another great example of AZA Accredited Zoos working together to help save a species from extinction.”
There are fewer than 850 Amur tigers surviving in their native forest habitats along the Eastern costal regions of Russia. Loss of habitat due to logging activities, human encroachment, and poaching are the main threats to their survival in the wild.
In addition to Nikka’s debut, guests to Potter Park Zoo will also have a chance to meet several other new members to the zoo’s family.
During the last several months the zoo has seen the arrival of over fifteen new animals including, two Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, two ostriches, a female wolf, a female bongo, two species of turtles, and several new birds.
Potter Park Zoo is located at 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. within Potter Park along the Red Cedar River in Lansing, Michigan. The zoo is open daily year-round, summer hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (517) 483-4222 or visit http://www.potterparkzoo.org/.
To view Potter Park Zoo’s web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to: http://www.zandavisitor.com/forumtopicdetail-588-Potter_Park_Zoo