OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Sumatran tiger at the Oklahoma City Zoo is pregnant.
Ten-year-old Lola is due to give birth this summer.
Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Sumatran tigers recommended that the OKC Zoo arrange for Lola to breed with her mate, 14-year-old Kami, according to OKC Zoo officials.
The OKC Zoo participates in AZA’s SSP and is committed to protecting Sumatran tigers and helping sustain their population, zoo officials said.
This is the second time Lola has become pregnant from mating with Kami. They welcomed male triplets in July 2017.
Lola is healthy and her caretakers will work closely with the Zoo’s veterinary team to monitor her pregnancy through ongoing exams and ultrasounds, zoo officials said.
“This pregnancy is great news for Sumatran tigers and we are anxiously awaiting Lola’s due date,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “Through our involvement with the AZA’s SSP for Sumatran tigers, the OKC Zoo is helping strengthen their population while further raising awareness for the conservation of this incredible species and its habitat.”
Lola was born on July 9, 2011. She and her three siblings were the first Sumatran tigers born at the OKC Zoo. She gave birth to three males – Eko, Gusti and Ramah – on July 9, 2017. Days later she became a foster mother to Zoya, a female Amur tiger cub who was born at the Philadelphia Zoo to a foster mother who didn’t have the maternal instinct to care for her.
“This was the first documented case of cross-fostering tigers of a different subspecies among AZA zoos,” OKC Zoo officials said.
Zoya has since relocated to Roosevelt Park Zoo, an AZA zoo in Minot, N.D. She gave birth to three cubs this past March.
Eko and Gusti have also been placed in other AZA zoos upon recommendations from the SSP for Sumatran tigers. Ramah resides at OKC Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat.
There are only an estimated 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild; they live in the forests of Indonesia. They are a critically endangered species threatened by habitat loss caused primarily by the cultivation of palm oil plantations and illegal hunting.
The OKC Zoo is also committed to protecting the species through a partnership with Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization dedicated to working with local partners to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests.
Rainforest Trust used funds donated by the OKC Zoo to purchase 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra.
“This lowland forest is rich in biodiversity and is now designated as a protected area, safe from conversion to palm oil plantations and logging and patrolled to prevent illegal activities, such as poaching,” zoo officials said. “Some of the Zoo’s most popular and endangered species, including Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and Sumatran tigers, are found here.”
Go to www.okczoo.org/tickets to buy tickets to the zoo as well as to the all new BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise.