Zoo asks visitors to speak French to Quebec-born tiger

EDMONTON, May 28 /CNW/ – Staff at Edmonton’s Valley Zoo are asking French speaking visitors to stop by for a chat with Boris the Siberian tiger.

Born at the Granby Zoo in Quebec, Boris grew up only hearing French, so English is his second language. Since arriving at the zoo in May 2006, staff has continued to notice how much Boris still appreciates hearing his first language.

“When he arrived at the zoo the staff was quick to pick up that he responded to commands in French and was indifferent to anything in English. We are fortunate that one of our zookeepers is fluent in French, so she spent many hours with Boris when he first arrived,” said Dean Triechel, Operations Supervisor at the Valley Zoo. “There’s no question he finds the sound of French soothing.”

Boris was born on August 7, 1999 and is a Species Survival Plan (SSP) animal. The Valley Zoo is involved in four North American SSP programs for the Grevy’s zebra; Siberian tiger, snow leopard, and red panda. SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. SSPs are not a substitute for preserving animals in nature but are one strategy for creating healthy, self-sustaining, captive populations that can be reintroduced into restored or secured habitat.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/ May2007/28/c5929.html

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