Striped giant: tiger Stepan settled in the Moscow Zoo

October 9

A new inhabitant appeared in the Moscow Zoo — a tiger named Stepan. Tigers are considered one of the largest land predators, second in size only to bears. The species is listed in the International Red Book and the Red Book of Russia. According to various estimates, its wild population today is just about 6.5 thousand individuals, steadily declining.

“Our new animal has an unusual story. When Stepan was about a year old, it was confiscated from smugglers and moved to a state rehabilitation center. The Moscow Zoo is trying to take care of wild animals that were removed from their natural habitat and will not be able to survive in the wild, so we decided to transfer the tiger, first to our branch near Veliky Ustyug, and then to Moscow. Zoologists made a genetic study and found out that Stepan is a hybrid of the Amur and Sumatran tigers,” says Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

You can admire the tiger in the "Animal Island" exposition on the new territory of the zoo. He lives next to a Himalayan bear. Previously, Stepan's enclosure belonged to Amur tiger Martin. But due to congenital malformation especially painful in recent years, zoologists decided to relocate Martin to a quieter and more peaceful environment, to the Center for the reproduction of rare animal species near Volokolamsk.

As soon as Stepan was released into the open enclosure, he examined his new home and took a dip in the pool. It turned out that this tiger loves to swim: he took all the toys into water on the very first day. This is a young and very curious predator. The sight of keepers caring for him makes the tiger snort. This is how it expresses a friendly greeting. Tigers greet their relatives or partners with a similar sound.

Stepan resembles most likely the Amur subspecies. It is almost twice the size of the Sumatran tiger — the animal weighs about 200 kilograms. The predator has an excellent appetite. He eats 10 to 15 kilograms of meat daily (depending on the season, cold weather increases the serving size). The tiger's diet includes beef, horse meat, rabbit, turkey and chicken. Once a week, Stepan has a fasting day. This is necessary to imitate natural conditions where hunger is a natural feeling motivating wild animals to hunt and be active.

In nature, tigers range is exclusively in Asia. According to the remains discovered by scientists, they lived in northern China at the beginning of the Pleistocene era (about two million years ago), and then migrated south. The historical area of predators extended to the Far East of Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, China, India and countries of Southeast Asia. By today, tigers were exterminated in most of these areas. According to zoologists, they now inhabit only seven percent of the original area. Large populations have survived in India and the Indochina Peninsula, while in other regions the number of tigers declined significantly. In Russia, small populations remain in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Regions.

Nine subspecies of the tiger were identified, but by the beginning of the 21st century, only six of them remained. These are Amur, Bengal, Indo-Chinese, Malay, Chinese and Sumatran tigers. The Balinese, Transcaucasian and Javanese subspecies disappeared in the 20th century. Major reasons for population decline are habitat destruction and poaching. Tiger hunting is prohibited throughout the world.

The life expectancy of wild tigers is about 15 years; in captivity animals live up to 25 years.

This is not the first autumn addition to the Moscow Zoo collection. Recently, honey badgers became Zoo inhabitants for the first time. They are famous for their brave character, even though they are small. If something threatens their lives, honey badgers do not hesitate to attack. They can easily attack lion, leopard and buffalo, they are not afraid of poisonous cobras and scorpions. No wonder the animals got into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fearless mammals in the world.

Now you can also see the tamandua anteaters in the Moscow Zoo. Male Pancho comfortably settled in the enclosure of the Primate House pavilion, while female Lola is still in quarantine. Common pottos also appeared in the zoo at the end of September. They are represented by two individuals. Zoologists hope to get offspring from the couple and thereby contribute to creation of a reserve population of this rare species.


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