27 July 2023
Sumatran tiger cubs Zac and Crispin were flying high at London Zoo this week, testing out a new swing, set up by zookeepers for the stripy siblings to practice their balancing and jumping skills.
The fun-loving-felines swung into action on their custom-made kit, durable enough to withstand the sharpest of teeth and claws.
“Zac and Crispin both have really playful personalities, so they pounced at the opportunity to play on the swing,” explained tiger keeper Tara Humphrey. “Tigers can leap forward an impressive 10 metres from a sitting position, so the added challenge of a moving target in the form of the swing tested that spatial awareness cats are so well known for.
“We’re always thinking of new ways to encourage the tigers to use all their natural skills, so we also left a scattering of toys and a stimulating scent trail of their favourite nutmeg and cinnamon to lead them across Tiger Territory towards their new swing-set.”
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The critically endangered cubs, who both recently turned one, were soon joined by parents Gaysha and Asim who couldn’t resist getting in on the action.
“Like most siblings, Zac and Crispin sometimes struggle to share their toys, but they soon realised there was plenty of room on the swing for the whole family,” Tara added. “Sumatran tigers can sleep up to 20 hours a day, so once the excitement of the new toy had worn off a little, the swing made the perfect lazy hammock for mum Gaysha to lie back and relax in.”
Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica) are the world’s rarest subspecies of tiger, with only 400 individuals estimated to be left in the wild. These breathtaking big cats are unfortunately threatened by illegal hunting, as well as habitat destruction in their native Indonesia.
The Sumatran tigers at London Zoo are part of an important global breeding programme for the species, coordinated by ZSL, designed to protect and boost their numbers. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind London Zoo, works to protect tigers and other threatened species in the wild.
ZSL’s Sustainable Business Finance team works with businesses and industries based in the Sumatran tiger’s natural habitat: Using ZSL’s SPOTT platform, the team continually assesses the environmental policies and practices of palm oil, timber, pulp and natural rubber companies across Indonesia, providing much-needed transparency to the sector and increasing their accountability.
“This Saturday is International Tiger Day, and people can show their support for the species - and ZSL’s work protecting them - by visiting London Zoo, where every ticket contributes to our vital work for wildlife,” Tara added. “And for those who can’t visit this weekend, adopting a tiger from the ZSL Shop is a great way of supporting our work for wildlife from afar.”