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Freezer Full of Poo

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 11:40am
tiger intro 01.jpg tiger intro 03.jpg

So, we have an Australian Sea Lion pup on the way and have three beautiful Serval Kittens... so what about some cubs from our Sumatran Tigers? Our breeding pair, Assiqua and Tuan, have both been at Adelaide Zoo for about a two years and after several unsuccessful introductions we are trying some new slides and some very interesting scientific tests.

First of all, we wanted to increase the interaction time between our breeding pair. We have 3 tigers and 2 exhibits; being that Tigers are solitary animals, only two Tigers will be on exhibit, with the third one spending the day off exhibit. If the Tiger spending the day off exhibit happens to be one of our breeding pair then they had no interaction all day with the other one due to our solid slides. So we got out fantastic Maintenance welder, Mark, to make some mesh slides, allowing our Tigers to see, hear and smell each other. These slides are working fantastically - both Tigers have been seen interacting with each other, such as cheek rubbing and chuffing (an affectionate noise like a purr). Many times I have walked into the off exhibit area to see Assiqua sitting at the mesh slide watching Tuan out on exhibit.

On the scientific side we are testing the hormone levels of Assiqua and we do this through her faeces. For an introduction to take place between our Tigers we need Assiqua to be at the height of her oestrus, or breeding cycle. Currently we visually track Assiquas oestrus, watching for specific signs, but this is difficult to be precise. Vets suggested doing a hormonal assay, which can show her progesterone and estrogen levels, indicating when she is oestrus and will also be helpful for testing when she may be pregnant. The hormonal assay is done through a faecal test - yes, not a pleasant job but luckily enough our vets have volunteered for that part! All we have to do is collect Assiquas faeces every other day and store it in the freezer. Wouldn’t want to store your lunch in that freezer, would you?

In addition to checking Assiqua's hormone levels, vets are also going to test the viability of Tuan's sperm when he goes under a general anaesthetic for dental day in September (stay tuned for a dental day blog). Tuan is still at a great age for breeding but we just want to make sure everything is working properly before we try for a successful introduction.

The Carnivore team is still very hopeful our pair can contribute to the captive population of critically endangered Sumatran Tigers, so stay tuned for updates.


Carnivore Keeper, Adelaide Zoo


Assiqua and Tuan in the photos above look adorable! I hope they will successfully breed too! Looking forward to more updates!
Posted By: Amanda Chan on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 3:00pm
Good luck! What a triumph it would be to have Sumatran tiger cubs. I know you had frustrations with trying to get Tiger Boy and beautiful Kemiri together - they never really "hit it off" - but Assiqua has had cubs before at Taronga - so fingers crossed for you all.
Posted By: Andrew Stone on Thursday, September 02, 2010 8:08am

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Page Last Updated October 27, 2010, 2:37 am