TACOMA, Wash. - Guests who pay a visit to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will be greeted by a new feline addition.
Raja, a 2-year-old endangered Sumatran tiger, will make his public debut this weekend.
Although he is named after the Indonesian word for 'king', the tiger is actually pretty laid-back.
The 295-pound tiger came to Tacoma in May from Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan for Sumatran tigers, a cooperative program among zoos that helps create a genetically diverse, self-sustaining population to guarantee the long-term future of the big cats.
The plan calls for Raja to father cubs with any of the zoo’s female tigers: Kali, 8; Kirana, 6; or Indah, 6, when he is of age.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with only about 400 remaining in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra, and their low population is due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, tiger-human conflict and loss of prey, according to the zoo. There are only about 75 endangered Sumatran tigers in accredited zoos in North America.