Opening of Our Tiger Oasis

Behind the Scenes, Carnivores, Uncategorized

 

Wildlife Safari is proud to announce the unveiling of our new Tiger Oasis expansion!  This project allowed the remodeling of our tiger huts, current tiger enclosures, and the addition of a new enclosure.  The Tiger Oasis will allow Wildlife Safari to become a Sumatran tiger breeding facility through AZA and the SSP (Species Survival Plan).

tiger yard 1

Room 5 tigers

Why will this new breeding program be important?

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with less than 400 in the wild.  Their main threats are deforestation, mainly from palm oil plantations, and poaching.  The oil palm industry grows at about 9% per year with 80% of all palm oil coming out of Indonesia and Malaysia (where the Island of Sumatra resides).  Sadly, only about 10-15% of this palm oil is sustainable; meaning that it does not affect the tiger’s survival.

Riya & Mala

Our new breeding program will allow the captive population of Sumatran tigers to become genetically diverse and prevent inbreeding from occurring.  This new expansion will also aid in us keepers providing better health check-ups and educate the public on the plights that these animals face every day.

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Barrels of fun

Behind the Scenes, Carnivores, Uncategorized

Everyday the animals at wildlife Safari get something exciting that we call ‘enrichment’. This could be a toy, an exciting snack or an interesting smell, whatever will pique their interest so they can explore something new and fun each day. For our Sumatran Tiger girls, there’s nothing quite as exciting as their barrels! That’s right, their toy of choice is a large blue plastic barrel.

Sumatran tiger, Riya, investigates her dinner on her favorite barrel - photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Sumatran tiger, Riya, investigates her dinner on her favorite barrel – photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Large enough that the Tigers can’t crush them and hurt themselves, and strong enough to withstand the attention of two 200lb Tigers, these things make for hours of fun!

Barrel play time! - Photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Barrel play time! – Photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

The girls love to bat them around, whack them, jump on them… No matter what else is happening, if they see a barrel, they have to investigate before they do anything else.

Painting with Paws

Behind the Scenes, Cheetahs, Uncategorized

All of the animals at the park have unique personalities, but some of them are artists as well! They may not be able to hold a brush, but they still find a way to make some pretty amazing paintings.

A painting done by Pancake and Dayo, our cheetah and dog ambassador pair - photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

A painting done by Pancake and Dayo, our cheetah and dog ambassador pair – photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Our tigers and cheetahs paint by walking through a mat covered with paint and then onto a canvas.

Pancake doing a painting session - photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Pancake doing a painting session – photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Dayo, the dog paired with Pancake as an ambassador, doing a painting session - photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Dayo, the dog paired with Pancake as an ambassador, doing a painting session – photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Other animals take a more passive approach. The hippos only have to hold still while the keepers do all the work!

Padron the hippo making a 'hippo kiss' painting - photo courtesy of Allison Trout

Padron the hippo making a ‘hippo kiss’ painting – photo courtesy of Allison Trout

Although motivated by the keepers (also known as providers of snacks) and not by a need for artistic expression, the resulting paintings are amazing prints and splatters that are unique every time. If you are lucky you may even get a tail brush swipes!

An array of paintings done by Pancake and Dayo - photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

An array of paintings done by Pancake and Dayo – photo courtesy of Sadie Ryan

Sumatran Sisters

Carnivores, Creature Feature, Uncategorized

Riya and Kemala are 3 year old Sumatran tigers. Sumatrans are the smallest tiger subspecies, much smaller than the large Siberian tigers. As jungle dwellers, Sumatran tigers don’t need the larger body mass needed to retain heat, their humid environment keeps them warm enough.

Like most cats, our girls sleep for a lot of the day, though they do enjoy their pool in the summer time. Tigers are one of the few cats that enjoy water, and they will swim and play (and even hide their toys) in their pond.

Sumatran tiger at her Wildlife Safari home

Sumatran tiger at her Wildlife Safari home

Tigers have ‘true stripes’, which means that their skin is also striped, and each tiger has a unique stripe patter, much like human finger prints.

There are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

To have so few individuals of a species left is a devastating thought for conservationists. Not only because they are beautiful and interesting creatures, but also because they are apex predators that are vital to the fine balance of populations. If tigers disappear, then their prey animal populations will increase, taking up more resources which will have flow on effects for other species. “Without top predators, the entire ecosystem collapses,” says Wildlife Safari Keeper, Adriana Kopp, who works and trains with the tiger girls daily. “You would get an overrun of grazers and animals like that, then those populations over eat,” says Kopp.

Riya, one of Wildlife Safari's two sumatran tigers

Riya, one of Wildlife Safari’s two sumatran tigers

Although ‘The Jungle Book’ may have you believing that tigers are villains, they are actually quite playful. Our girls LOVE playing with big plastic barrels, and new toys are always a big hit with them. The two girls at Wildlife Safari are sisters and they are very closely bonded, so they often play together, chuffing to show how happy they are. Tigers don’t purr, unlike smaller cats. Instead they make a noise called ‘chuffing’, which (if you’d like to give it a go) kind of sounds like exhaling while shivering.

Riya is the dominant of the two sisters, while Kemala is the calmer and slightly smaller sister. While Kemala’s calm nature tends to charm most people, Riya’s spark of personality wins hearts as well. “She just has such personality and spunk,” says Kopp. At 200 lbs Riya is also slightly larger than her sister, who is 180 lbs, which is a good reflection of her dominance – she tends to claim more snacks than her sister!

Whether they are napping or playing, the tigers are a majestic sight. While you may think stripes make them conspicuous, they are actually masters of camouflage.So if you visit and can’t see them, look a little closer….