National Zoo adds new tiger

May 26, 2011

The National Zoo has added a new 2½-year-old Sumatran tiger from the San Diego Safari Park to help diversify the population of the endangered cats.

The zoo said Wednesday that the female named Damai left quarantine and is on public view. The zoo plans to bring a male tiger to breed with her this year.

Damai is considered a highly valued animal because her genetics are not well represented among tigers in captivity. The zoo’s last litter of tigers was born in 2006.

Tiger keeper Leigh Pitsko says Damai is a calm and curious cat.

Conservationists say there are fewer than 3,500 tigers left in the wild, due to poaching and a shrinking habitat. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute leads an effort with the World Bank to help sustain tigers.

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