Tiger trio about to turn one
By LUCY VICKERS – North Shore Times
Last updated 05:00 26/05/2009
Jalur, Cinta and Berani have their first birthday coming up and they all weigh more than 60kg.
The trio are Auckland Zoo’s young sumatran tigers, born last year to mother Molek.
Zoo vet John Potter, who lives in Takapuna, has only handled and examined them twice.
Dr Potter says to do that now he would need to anaesthetise them first by dart and blow pipe.
The tigers’ vaccinations, due around September, will be done using this method.
Zoo records show their latest weights range from 64kg to 74kg and they are just too dangerous to be near.
Dr Potter says no one goes in their enclosure with them.
“They’re not tame. But we don’t want them tame because tigers in their natural habitat aren’t.”
The tigers turn one on June 12. Jalur, meaning stripes, and Berani, meaning brave, are males. Cinta, meaning love, is female.
Dr Potter was their vet almost from the beginning and he says it took about 10 days after they were born before zoo staff realised how many tigers there were.
“Their mother was in the birthing area and we didn’t want to disrupt her.”’
They have had a pretty healthy first year, although Dr Potter says one of the cubs, he thinks it was Jalur, worried them a bit at the beginning.
“About four weeks after his birth he seemed to have an unusual head tilt, his eyes were blank and he would look to the sky.”
He says after the first examination nothing could be found wrong and 11 weeks later the affliction had gone.
After about two years at the zoo, Dr Potter says it will be time for the three to be sent to another zoo or zoos. Their new homes could be in New Zealand or Australia.
He hopes Molek will breed again.
“There are fewer than 400 sumatran tigers left in the wild and they are under threat.”
Dr Potter has been involved with the zoo for 20 years, with the last six of those fulltime.
He says one of the male lions is still “absolutely terrified” of him.
“He runs away when he sees me, even if I’m 20 to 30 metres away. And this animal can kill me with a swipe.”
Dr Potter looks after all sorts of animals ranging from a three gram archey’s frog to a three-and-a-half tonne elephant.
He says he likes treating elephants the most because they don’t need to be restrained.
“They are no problem, they never have to be sedated.
“I can just go and examine them.”