Who’s a pretty kitty? Who’s a pretty kitty?
That pretty kitty would be Mohan, a male Sumatran tiger brought to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma to make little baby tigers.
The 12-year-old tiger made his public debut 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 cat is expected to be on exhibit all weekend.
Zoo curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said 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 will turn 13 Monday, and she will be 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 the zoo’s red wolves.
The practice has been important in the preservation of clouded leopards and other species, according to zoo officials.
An estimated 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and there are 77 in North American zoos.