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Male tiger will be fourth resident at the Zoo's newest habitat, The Edge
Denver Zoo plans to import a 3-year-old, male Amur tiger, named Martin, from Russia's Moscow Zoo later this summer. He will support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) with valuable genetics, as he is unrelated to any tigers in the U.S. Martin will also be the fourth Amur tiger to call the Zoo’s newest habitat, The Edge, home. He will not, however, be visible to the public during an initial, routine quarantine period, which he will spend behind-the-scenes at The Edge.
“Denver Zoo is extremely excited for Martin to arrive,” says Denver Zoo Vice President for Animal Care Brian Aucone. “Amur tigers are an endangered species that are facing extinction unless we do something. We are proud to participate internationally to help save these amazing creatures by connecting them with our guests as ambassadors for their species. Martin will help ensure we have genetically viable populations of tigers for the millions of current and future guests who visit zoos to gain an appreciation and respect for the species.”
Amur tigers are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an estimated population of less than 400 individuals remaining in the wild. These animals were once called Siberian tigers because they were found throughout Siberia. They are now almost completely confined to the Far East portion of Asia, along the Amur River, and because of this they are now commonly called Amur tigers. In addition to habitat loss, their species' biggest threats come from poaching, both for their fur and other body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine.
Martin was born at Moscow Zoo in June 2014 and now weighs nearly 450 pounds. His zookeepers in Moscow say he’s a calm animal. Upon arrival at Denver Zoo, he will be recommended to breed, per his species' SSP, with the Zoo’s lone female tiger, 6-year-old Nikita.
Martin will also share space at The Edge with the Zoo’s two current male residents, 7-year-old brothers Thimbu (TIM-boo) and Nikolai. The habitat brings guests closer than ever to the Zoo’s tigers. Through its engaging design, guests can appreciate the tigers’ incredible physicality and unique disposition. Elevated lofts allow the tigers to stride 12 feet over visitors’ heads. A 3,000-square-foot building behind the yards allows zookeepers and veterinarians to provide outstanding animal care with plenty of room to administer procedures, easily move cats back and forth, and train them to assist in their own health care.
Moscow Zoo keepers are preparing Martin for his flight to New York. Upon his arrival, he will be picked up and checked before being driven directly to Denver Zoo. For the safety and wellbeing of the animal, Denver Zoo will not be sharing exact flight information, but will make an announcement once he has arrived at the Zoo. Zoo communications staff also will be sharing photos and video of the tiger prior to the import on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DenverZoo.
Amur tigers are the largest living member of the cat family. Adult males can grow up to 12-feet-long, from nose to tail, and weigh more than 450 pounds. Adult females can grow up to 9-feet-long and weigh up to 370 pounds. Amur tigers also have longer, thicker fur than other tiger species due to the harsh winter conditions in their native habitat.