TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Three Sumatran tigers born at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center will be leaving Topeka early next week for their new home at the Nashville Zoo.
The City of Topeka said this transfer is the second step in a three step process recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Program. The first step occurred this past April when the father of the three cubs was transferred to the Miller Park Zoo. The final step will occur when a new male tiger arrives at the Topeka Zoo later this summer.
Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said it’s all about healthy genetic diversity.
“This species is in trouble in the wild. We need to ensure we are managing the population under human care in a way that there will be genetically healthy tigers to return back to the wild if we can stabilize the problems they are facing in their range territories.”
Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. Raza, Shanti and Chlojo weigh just under 200 pounds each. It is estimated that there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. The wild population has decreased by half in just the last 25 years and is listed as critically endangered.
The city said the three tigers will depart Topeka either Monday or Tuesday next week. They will have a brief stay at the Knoxville Zoo while the Nashville Zoo completes the tigers’ new exhibit.
“If anyone wants to say good bye, we suggest they do it no later than Sunday,” said Wiley.
The three cubs named Raza, Shanti, and ChloJo were born on May 4, 2014 to mother Jingga and father Rojo.