A new Sumatran tiger at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has good genes, but is too aggressive to mate.
Officials brought Mohan, 12, to Tacoma on Tuesday from the Sacramento Zoo in hopes of using artificial insemination to further the critically endangered species.
His partner will be Kali, a 3-year-old who lives in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary with her three siblings.
Kali was ruled an unlikely candidate for natural breeding because she was hand-raised and didn’t learn how to behave with other tigers.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to conserve this species for future generations,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, generator curator and vice chairwoman of the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. “I cannot imagine a world in which tigers cease to exist.”
It will be months before zoo officials try assisted reproduction. Kali is just beginning to sexually mature.
The procedure will be a first for Point Defiance Zoo. Although the zoo has used artificial insemination with red wolves, it has not been tried with tigers.
Mohan will spend the next few weeks getting accustomed to his new home. The public will not be able to see him until late spring.
He is the fifth Sumatran tiger in Tacoma. Kali’s siblings are Dumai, 4; and Dari and Kirana, both 2.
An estimated 300 Sumatran tigers live in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra. Another 78 live in accredited North American zoos.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653