A 5-week-old Malayan tiger is coming to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma to basically become an adopted brother to a Sumatran tiger born at the zoo in August.

The Malayan cub, named Berani (pronounced burr-rani), will arrive from the Tulsa Zoo next Wednesday. He ll join Sumatran tiger Dumai in the zoo s cub den. Once they settle in and comfortable interacting with the zoo staff, they ll be on display for the public.

We re thrilled that this cub is coming to Tacoma and that these two endangered tigers will be able to grow and socialize together, said Karen Goodrowe Beck, general curator of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It is important whenever possible for an animal like Berani to be raised with members of his own species.

Each tiger was the only cub in its litter, which is unusual. The zoo said the average litter size for both sub-species is two or three cubs.

Veterinarians removed the cubs from their mothers because they were not thriving, but the tigers are now developing normally.

Tiger facts (courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo)

  • Sumatran tigers, listed as critically endangered, are the smallest subspecies of tiger and their fur is a darker orange than that of Malayans. Sumatran tigers also are the only remaining tiger subspecies that lives on an island. As few as 300 live in the wild on the Indonesian island.
  • Malayan tigers, a bit bigger, lighter in color and lankier in body conformation, are native to the tropical forests of peninsular Malaysia. The Tiger Conservation Campaign estimates that fewer than 500 remain in the wild.
  • Human encroachment on habitat and poaching to use tiger parts for medicinal purposes has created significant threats to the survival of both subspecies.
  • There are 74 Sumatran tigers in Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited zoos in North American zoos and about 375 as part of the Global Species Management Plan. Fifty-five Malayan tigers live in AZA member zoos
  • Each of the tigers will reach 275-300 pounds when fully grown. They ll eventually be placed into zoo-based breeding populations of their respective subspecies to maintain genetic diversity and increase their numbers.
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