Rare tiger celebrates first birthday at Woodland Park Zoo
Story Published: Dec 12, 2007 at 3:28 PM PST
Story Updated: Dec 12, 2007 at 3:28 PM PST
By KOMO Staff
SEATTLE — When her keepers placed a cinnamon smeared paper mache reindeer in her habitat Wednesday morning, Hadiah was a bit timid.
But after eyeing the new toy for a while and sniffing it a few times, the 1-year-old Sumatran tiger made a quick pounce and appeared to be having fun toppling the inanimate intruder.
“She was afraid of it at first, but she’s dismembering it very happily now,” zookeeper Dana Wooster said with a laugh. “She’s a funny cat. She’s very shy at first and afraid of new items, but she gets over it pretty quickly and has a lot of fun.”
Wooster has been the tiger keeper at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo for 15 years, and said Wednesday’s birthday festivities were partly a celebration that Hadiah was still with the zoo.
“It’s a celebration of a lot of hard work,” she said. “We really feel blessed that we have her, because there were some moments a year ago that were touch and go.”
Just two weeks after she was born, Hadiah had to be taken to the zoo’s hospital for emergency care and be raised by hand when her mother stopped caring for her.
Hadiah pulled through and, Wooster said the tiger is healthy and happy.
The tiger’s name, which means ‘gift’ in Indonesian, was selected in an online poll that drew nearly 7,000 votes.
The zoo says there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers believed to be living in the wild, and Wooster hopes Hadiah will help bring attention to the need to protect the remaining animals.
“We see her as a true gift to all of us and to the community,” Wooster said. “She’s really an ambassador to her wild cousins. We’re hoping that people will learn to appreciate tigers and see how incredibly beautiful they are, and want to save them in the wild. I’m really lucky to get to work with her.”
For The Tiger
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