JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Two Sumatran tigers are joining the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The tigers will be in the new 2.5 acre attraction set to open in March 2014, Land of the Tiger.
Lucy, 2, arrived at the Jacksonville Zoo on Dec. 5 from Oklahoma City Zoo and Berani, 12, is expected to arrive Dec. 11 from Akron Zoo in Ohio.
"We are extremely excited to welcome these two important tigers to Jacksonville," said Dan Maloney, deputy director of conservation and education at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. "We hope the pair will become proud parents in the very near future. Sumatrans are the last of the island tigers still existing, and Lucy and Berani's cubs would play an essential role in the survival of their kind."
Lucy and Berani have been matched for breeding based on a recommendation by the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan program.
The Land of the Tiger is a $9.5 million project and is part of an expansion project for the Asia precinct. The exhibit will allow the tigers to roam freely and encourage natural behavior, according to the Jacksonville Zoo.
The pair is joining three Malayan tiger brothers who arrived from the Palm Beach Zoo Oct. 28.
The Sumatran tigers are native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They face habitat destruction, fragmentation and poaching. The tigers are considered a critically endangered species with fewer than 400 existing in the wild today, according to World Wildlife Fund.
First Coast News