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Meet the Animals

Malayan Tiger

(Panthera tigris jacksoni)

A tiger’s stripes are as unique to each individual as are a human’s fingerprints. Those stripes offer superb camouflage, which, when combined with great patience and silent stalking, allows a tiger to creep up close to its prey. Then with a quick burst of speed—tigers can reach up to 35 miles an hour—the tiger takes down its prey with powerful jaws and long canines.

Those hunts are only successful one out of every 10 to 20 attempts, however, so the Malayan tiger needs an ample prey base, access to water and dense vegetation to survive. Unfortunately for this endangered species, that prey base and habitat are disappearing as human activities such as agriculture, logging and road building encroach into their range in southern and central Malay Peninsula. Human-tiger conflict is heightened in these areas where boundaries collide and tiger poaching for traditional Asian medicines compounds the problem.

Woodland Park Zoo will participate in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Malayan tigers. SSPs are cooperative breeding programs to help ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability of endangered species in North American zoos and aquariums. SSP programs also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education and international field projects.

Sloth Bear

(Melursus ursinus)

Meet the vacuums of the Asian forest. Native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the omnivorous sloth bear is specially adapted to suck up large quantities of termite and ant colonies, an abundant and consistent food source. Sloth bears dig out insect mounds with their sharp, 3-inch claws. Then they blow away the dirt and debris with their long, mobile lips. Finally, with a huge breath, sloth bears suck out the insects. Since sloth bears lack their two front incisors and have a hollowed palate, they can quickly remove the insects like a high-powered vacuum. Sloth bears also love honey, and they will easily climb up to 26 feet into the trees or hang from branches to raid honeycombs.

Sloth bears are an endangered species. Less than 10,000 remain in the wild. Their survival is challenged by fragmented populations, competition with other animals (particularly humans) for space and food, deforestation, and the bear parts trade for use in traditional Asian medicines. For all bears, their long-term survival requires large, remote and protected areas of habitat, together with the elimination of the bear parts trade. Woodland Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for the sloth bear, a cooperative captive breeding and conservation program designed to maintain genetic diversity in North American zoo populations, and conduct research and field programs to better understand and protect the species in the wild.

 

Asian Small-Clawed Otter

(Aonyx cinerea) 

COMPLETED AND OPENED IN MAY 2013

Native to southern and southeastern Asia, the Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest species of otter in the world. For comparison, the North American river otters on exhibit in the zoo’s award-winning Northern Trail are twice the size of these small-clawed otters!

Gregarious and highly active, Asian small-clawed otters live in family groups called lodges, and prefer shallow waters where they can probe in mud and under rocks for prey. Asian small-clawed otters spend more time on land than most otters, using their long, sensitive whiskers and short but nimble fingers to detect prey such as crabs and snails.

Sometimes killed as pests, Asian small-clawed otters are also poached for pelts, meat and body parts for traditional Asian medicines. Habitat loss presents otters the gravest threat. Deforestation, drainage of wetlands and growth of plantations drastically reduce suitable otter habitat. Housing areas with accompanying sewage and trash, agriculture and aquaculture, plus industry and mining all introduce pollutants. Pesticides, heavy metals and wide-spread use of PCBs (an organic compound) seriously impact otter health. The otter’s prey base also suffers and declines.

Woodland Park Zoo will participate in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for the Asian small-clawed otter, a cooperative captive breeding and conservation program designed to maintain genetic diversity in North American zoo and aquarium populations, and conduct research and field programs to better understand and protect the species in the wild. 

 

 

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Woodland Park Zoo is a registered non-profit organization.                601 N. 59th Street, Seattle, WA 98103