Tiger’s settling into new home at Dudley Zoo

After travelling hundreds of miles by sea and land, the latest arrival at Dudley Zoo is now taking a break as he settles into his new surroundings.

Male Sumatran tiger, Joao, aged 20 months, settles in at Dudley Zoo watched by assistant curator Richard Brown
Male Sumatran tiger, Joao, aged 20 months, settles in at Dudley Zoo watched by assistant curator Richard Brown

Keepers are spending time with young Sumatran tiger, Joao, as they help him get used to his enclosure and introduce him to female tiger Daseep.

He brings with him hopes of a new generation of big cats as Joao is part of a major international conservation programme for the critically endangered species.

And he is already proving a hit with staff who say he is making good progress.

Assistant curator Richard Brown said: “Joao is still settling into his new surroundings in the internal dens and we are monitoring his behaviour daily.

“He seems to be a relaxed tiger and big cat staff are now working hard to build a bond with him by spending as much time as possible sitting and talking to him.

“We hope visitors will bear with him until he’s ready to explore the outside, which we expect to be sometime in the coming weeks.”

While out of the public eye, staff have also started the gradual introduction process between 20-month-old Joao and three year-old Daseep.

Mr Brown said: “Although both tigers are kept separately indoors, they can now see each other through the internal enclosures and there has been some vocalisation between the pair.

“All the initial reactions have so far been promising.”

Dudley Zoo holds an impressive breeding record for Sumatran tigers with eight cubs having been born at the Castle Hill site between 2000 and 2005, which increased the world population of this rare sub-species by two per cent and went on to boost programmes across the world.

Sumatran tigers are Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red data List and there are just 140 left in the wild.