The Toronto Zoo is delighted to open the endangered Amur Tiger Exhibit. Amur tigers are the largest of all tigers and it is estimated there are only 500 left in the wild. The Amur Tiger Exhibit, formerly the Giant Panda Experience, is located within the Eurasia Wilds section of the Zoo and is home to two Amur tiger siblings, female “Kira” and male “Vasili”. Kira, which means “mistress or ruler” is six years-old and was born at Calgary Zoo. Vasili, which means “royal or kingly” is brother of Kira and also six years-old. Vasili arrived to Toronto from Assiniboine Park Zoo, but was born at Calgary Zoo.
Kira can be described as having a more discernible personality, different from Vasili, and Wildlife
Care has worked diligently to earn her respect. Kira’s favourite enrichment activity is anything that is placed within a tube. She enjoys throwing the tube around her exhibit to see what Keepers have hidden inside for her! Vasili is best described as a smart tiger with a relaxed personality. He readily engages with daily training sessions with Wildlife Care Staff and thoroughly enjoys playing hard and destroying all of his enrichment items on a regular basis!
With the arrival of these two siblings, the Zoo will again be an active participant in the Amur Tiger SSP. Even though neither of our tigers will be breeding in the near future, housing them here will give their home zoos more space to breed their tigers again.And, our new tigers could each potentially be candidates for breeding with non-related individuals in the future. The Amur Tiger SSP, aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. One of the Toronto Zoo’s mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet.
About Amur Tigers:
The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is the most cold-adapted subspecies of tiger: they are the largest cats in the world (more mass equals more heat) and they have a thick coat of fur. At a glance they might look similar to our Sumatran tigers in Indo-Malaya, but Amur tigers are significantly larger (up to twice as heavy) and much paler: their orange colour is less vibrant and their black stripes are more widely-spaced.
Amur tigers were once found throughout norther China, the Korean peninsula, and eastern Russia, which earned them the familiar name “Siberian tiger”. However, poaching and habitat loss have decimated the wild population. Thanks to conservation efforts, the wild population now numbers approximately 540 individuals but their status is still endangered. The majority of wild “Siberian” tigers are currently found in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of Russia, around the Amur River. To reflect their current distribution, they are now generally referred to as Amur tigers.