Los Angeles Zoo Welcomes an Endangered Sumatran Tiger

CONTACT: April Spurlock

February 7, 2017

Media Are Invited to the Debut of Indah the Female Tiger – C.J.’s New Mate!

LA Zoo Female Sumatran Tiger by Jamie Pham

LA Zoo Female Sumatran Tiger by Jamie Pham

After a long and successful introduction period, the Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce that C.J. the four-year-old, male Sumatran tiger now has a companion in female Sumatran tiger Indah. Two-year-old Indah arrived from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington on June 4, 2016 as a potential breeding partner for C.J., who came to the L.A. Zoo in 2014 from the Sacramento Zoo. But, before the two could interact, L.A. Zoo Animal Care staff underwent a delicate introduction process to help the two felines get to know each other.

“Introducing two tigers can be an extremely sensitive process that requires time and patience,” said Dorothy Belanger, Senior Animal Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “You would never want to immediately put two tigers together in the same space because they are territorial by nature. Animal Care staff helped Indah get used to her new home while also taking necessary steps to build familiarity and eventually trust between the two tigers.”

For Indah and C.J. the introduction process began behind the scenes. Animal Care staff began what is called a howdy process, or a situation that allows the pair visual access to each other without being in the same space. This allows the tigers the chance to grow accustomed to each other safely and gives Animal Care staff more control over the interactions. At the same time, Indah was allowed access to the habitat at night alone so she could wander around and discover her new surroundings in a peaceful and quiet environment. The two tigers finally went out together for the first time on December 8, six months after her initial arrival at the L.A. Zoo. They have been out together in their habitat ever since.

“This pairing has really been the best case scenario when putting two tigers together,” said Krissy Parada, Animal Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “The pair is getting along great, and while C.J. is bigger and more excited to get to know her, he listens to her warnings when she wants her space. There haven’t been any disagreements so far, and they seem to communicate very well because they met when they were still young.”

Animal Care staff hopes the pair continues to thrive as friendly companions until Indah reaches sexual maturity in the next few years. C.J. and Indah were paired together as part of a Species Survival Program (SSP) in hopes of preserving a subspecies of tiger that is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with less than 400 left in the wild. The biggest threats to the survival of Sumatran tigers in the wild are due to agricultural habitat destruction, poaching, and killing of tigers that come into contact with villages.

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the six remaining subspecies of tiger, and they are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They can range in size from seven to nine feet in length and may weigh from 220 to 380 pounds. The male is slightly larger than the female with a more “bearded” appearance. Their coat is a dark reddish-yellow with long black stripes, which provides camouflage in the dense forest. Like most wild cats, Sumatran tigers are solitary animals that live within marked, carefully guarded territories.

Guests can now observe Indah and C.J. in their habitat together at Tiger Plaza daily, weather permitting.

About the Los Angeles Zoo

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.