TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Topeka Zoo has officially announced the arrival of its new female Sumatran tiger.
The zoo announced that Kinleigh-Rose arrived Wednesday, Feb. 15 from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida. According to the Topeka Zoo, Kinleigh-Rose was named after a Jacksonville Zoo supporter, Karen Kaunitz, who sadly passed away last week.
“We know how integral our donors are to the work we do within our zoo, so it’s always sad to lose some of our extended family,” says Brendan Wiley, CEO of the Topeka Zoo. “It’s a powerful reminder that while our conservation efforts are challenging, we can help save species from extinction with help and collaboration.”
As Kinleigh-Rose settles into her new home, the Topeka Zoo has already given Kinleigh-Rose a nickname for her: “Nisha.”
“Nisha” will join Thomas, who just arrived in Topeka from Kansas City on January 26.
Sumatran tigers are currently listed as critically endangered, with what are believed to be fewer than 500 left in the wild, according to the Topeka Zoo. The two were mated together for breeding through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in an effort to boost the Sumatran tiger population.
“We are so happy to report that Nisha arrived safely on Wednesday and is doing great,” said Shanna Simpson, Animal Curator. “She IS a sweet tiger and is already very well adjusted. Thomas and Nisha have seen and smelled each other from a distance and we have seen positive behavior between the two.
The zoo says that if all goes well and weather permits, guests may get a chance to see both tigers over the weekend of Feb. 18-19.
“We are extremely patient when it comes to introducing carnivores,” Simpson said. “Tigers are typically solitary animals in the wild, so we need to make sure we comply with AZA recommendations and monitor the signals from both Nisha and Thomas. We expect both tigers to be separated for some time, but there’s a good chance guests will be able to see them in their own habitat soon.”