Who’s a pretty kitty? Who’s a pretty kitty?
That pretty kitty would be Mohan, a male Sumatran tiger brought to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma for the purposes of making little baby tigers.
The 12-year-old tiger will be making his public debut at noon Thursday at the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Mohan arrived in Tacoma about a month ago from the Sacramento Zoo with the intent of pairing him with Kali, one of Point Defiance’s four Sumatran tigers (all of whom are siblings).
The 270-pound endangered wildcat is expected to be on exhibit all weekend.
Zoo curator Dr. Karen Goodrowe Beck said in a news release that Mohan is the second most genetically valuable male in North America.
“He is a good genetic match for Kali,” Goodrowe Beck said, “and we are hopeful that the two will produce offspring that will add new vigor to this small population.”
Mohan and Kali share a birthday: He turns 13 on Monday and she turns 4.
The two will mate through artificial insemination because Mohan is aggressive and Kali was hand-raised after her mother failed to care for her.
It is unknown how long it will take before artificial insemination is completed because Kali is just becoming sexually mature.
The Metro Parks Tacoma facility has not performed artificial insemination of tigers before, but it has been used for red wolves there.
The practice has been important in the preservation of clouded leopards and other species, according to the news release.
An estimated 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, in their habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and there are 77 in North American zoos.