The new Sumatran tiger that arrived at the Topeka Zoo on Wednesday has a pretty common name with some pretty famous roots.
Thomas is named after billionaire movie mogul Thomas Tull, perhaps best known as the executive producer of films which included ‘Jurassic World’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘The Hangover’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Man of Steel’ .
Tull and his wife, Alba Tull, donated $9 million to help pay to create the $19.5 million Tull Family Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, where Thomas and his brother, Conrad, were born on March 5, 2012.
The final six at the Topeka Zoo were named Sanjiv, Zayana, Badar, Bintang, Jingga and Kansa Raja.
Moreover:Zayana, a Sumatran tiger born at the Topeka Zoo, flies to her new home in New Zealand
‘They could hurt each other if not separated’
Thomas and Conrad were relocated in 2016 to the Kansas City Zoo, which announced on Facebook last summer that Conrad would be relocated to a Florida facility for breeding purposes.
“As brothers, 10-year-old Conrad and his brother Thomas were able to live together peacefully, but they have reached an age where tigers become more aggressive and could harm each other if not separated,” it reads. post. “Tigers are solitary animals for most of their lives and typically only interact for mating purposes.
The Topeka Zoo then announced Thursday that Thomas had been moved here as part of a Species Survival Plan partnership between the zoos aimed at increasing animal populations while ensuring healthy genetic diversity.
A female Sumatran tiger will join Thomas at the Topeka Zoo next month in hopes of creating another successful breeding pair, said Alexandria “Lexi” Granados, the zoo’s digital content creator.
Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies and are considered critically endangered. Fewer than 500 specimens are thought to remain in the wild, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The main threats to them include poaching, prey depletion, conflict with humans and disease, Granados said.
Sumatran tigers can live up to 25 years in captivity.
Moreover:Sumatran tiger Jingga gave birth to 7 cubs at the Topeka Zoo. She is going to another zoo.
“A very successful tiger program”
Of the 72 Sumatran tigers living in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums of North America, seven were born at the Topeka Zoo, Granados said.
The Topeka Zoo was acting in line with SSP recommendations when three Sumatran tigers were born there in 2014 and four more in 2018.
“Our zoo has a very successful tiger program and because of this, we are entrusted with a valuable breeding pair,” Shanna Simpson, the zoo’s animal curator, told The Capital-Journal last year. “We look forward to taking on the challenge and hopefully can look forward to another batch of puppies in the future.”
The Topeka Zoo’s four remaining Sumatran tigers were sent to other zoos last year, leaving its tiger habitat empty since early December.
Thomas fits “perfectly”
Since Thomas is now the only tiger here, he will complete his quarantine period in the zoo’s tiger habitat, Granados said.
That means, weather permitting, guests might get a chance to see him there soon, he said.
Thomas is adjusting to his new home here “perfectly,” Simpson said.
“Our focus for the coming week is to begin the process of building relationships between our animal care people and Thomas,” she said. “We will spend time with him, feed him, start training and help him get used to his new home. We are not sure when he will be on public view, but we will make sure to update everyone on how he is doing.”
Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.