For the first time since 1948, the Great Cats habitat at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is once again home to an Amur tiger, a 10-year-old male named Pavel. He came to the Zoo from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Ill. Keepers describe the new-cat-in-town’s personality as reserved but laid-back when interacting with animal care staff. Beginning Jan. 5, Pavel will rotate daily on exhibit with the Zoo’s Sumatran tigers, Sparky and Damai, and African lions Luke, Naba, Shera, Shaka, Jumbe and Amahle.
Native to the forests of Russia and northern China, Amur tigers are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Scientists estimate that only 360 Amur tigers exist in their native habitat, and populations are declining due to threats such as habitat loss and poaching, both of the cats and their prey. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists play an active role in saving tigers in their native habitats by studying and working to protect them in range countries.
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Photo Credit: Roshan Patel and Amy Enchelmeyer, Smithsonian’s National Zoo