Tierpark Animal News
Soon, Tierpark Berlin’s young male Amur tiger will be saying konnichiwa to his new home in the land of the rising sun. This week, 18-month-old Artjom will embark upon the 25-hour journey to Tama Zoo in Tokyo, over 12,500 kilometres away.
Artjom gently nudges his mother Aurora (7) and playfully bites her fur. He is definitely the boldest of the young tiger siblings. There was much excitement when Aurora gave birth to her four cubs in April 2015, but now the cuddly little kittens have grown into majestic big cats and are ready to go out into the world. “In the wild, the bond between mother and child weakens in tigers when the young are around two years old,” says Tierpark curator Christian Kern. “And that’s exactly what’s happening with Aurora and her four cubs.” As the quadruplets are now big enough to bid a fond farewell to mum, Artjom’s three sisters will also be moving to other zoos in the course of the year. At Tama Zoo, Artjom will meet the two tigresses Ai (6) and Shizuka (10). With a bit of luck, they will become more than just good friends and Tama Zoo will soon hear the patter of tiny paws.
Amur tigers are critically endangered, with wild populations decimated by poaching and the destruction of their natural habitat. Thanks to conservation measures, partly financed by zoos, their numbers in the wild have risen once again and have stabilised at around 500 individuals in the past ten years. Artjom’s move to Japan is part of a globally coordinated endangered species programme for Amur tigers. “The Global Species Management Plan is coordinated by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the two endangered species programmes in Europe and Japan,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “The overarching goal is the long-term preservation of genetically diverse and demographically robust genetic reservoirs in the world’s zoos.”
Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are the biggest cats alive on Earth today. They live in the boreal forests of southeast Russia, northern China and North Korea. Artjom and his three sisters Alexa, Amura and Amba were born at Tierpark Berlin on 23 April 2015. Their father is ten-year-old Amur tiger Darius.