London Zoo needs £5m to split warring tigers
By Jessica Salter
Last Updated: 6:01am BST 10/1/2008
London Zoo needs to raise £5 million to create a new enclosure to separate two tigers who do not get on.
Keepers hoped that Lumpur, one of the zoo’s rare Sumatran tigers, would mate with Sarah, a tiger brought in from Dudley Zoo in the West Midlands.
But instead of finding love, the tigers have been fighting. Next year, the zoo will launch a public appeal for a big cat enclosure which is expected to cost as much as the £5.3 million spent on its Gorilla Kingdom exhibit last year.
Inspectors said that a condition of renewing the licence for the 180-year-old zoo was that plans must be submitted for a new outdoor tiger paddock within two years.
Barnardo Luque, a City of London vet who was part of the five-strong inspection team, said that he had recommended new accommodation after noticing a wound on one of Sarah’s hind legs.
“The suggestion was made because the tigress did appear to have some injuries.
“It was a situation that you might expect to see in large felines but, if you see an injury, you have to do something.”
He added: “Apparently, she was a bad-tempered tiger.”
Sarah had successfully mated with a tiger in Dudley Zoo and keepers hoped the same would happen in London to help the shrinking population of diminutive Sumatran tigers.
London already had a female called Raika, who they swapped for Sarah, who had been unable to breed with 11-year-old Lumpur.
Since the problems between Sarah and Lumpur, the tigress has been temporarily moved into a second outdoor pen used by lions but zoo managers hope they can swap her back with Raika.