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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meet the Malayan tigers: Liem, Eko & Olan

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Last week we shared a sneak peek of the new Malayan tiger and sloth bear exhibit Banyan Wilds (opening May 2). Now let’s take a closer look at the three tigers who have been keeping our horticulture crew busy (see evidence below) as they taste test out their new digs. 

Our young tigers use all of their senses to get the dirt on their new space. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Liem, Eko and Olan arrived at Woodland Park Zoo in March and will make their debut when the new exhibit opens. The three brothers and their sister were born November 12, 2013 to Malayan tigers Liku and Suhana at Little Rock Zoo. Since their arrival the boys have been getting to know their keepers, exploring the new exhibit and testing out all of its features—especially the tiger stream. At one and a half years old, the young male tigers are curious, playful and especially interested in their keepers and still fascinated with each other.

One by one, here are a few deets on the new tiger boys:

Liem

Most likely to hog the tiger stream, Liem loves to play in the water. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

NAME: Liem – a name of Vietnamese origin meaning “sincere, honest, or genuine.” 
WEIGHT: 200 lb.
FAVORITE SNACK: Hard boiled eggs are this tiger’s favorite!
FAVORITE ACTIVITY OR PART OF THE EXHIBIT: Liem loves the water and is most likely to take the plunge this summer.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS OR BEHAVIORS: Liem has more solid bars above his eyes, his markings almost look like a π symbol, so if you’re a math nerd he’ll be easy to spot!

Eko

Eko has his eyes on his brothers. You'll find him keeping them in check from the highest perch in the exhibit. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

NAME: Eko – a name of Indonesian origin meaning “first child.” This name was selected since Eko was part of the first litter of cubs born to parents Suhana and Liku at Little Rock Zoo.
WEIGHT: 220 lb.
FAVORITE SNACK: Eko is pretty into bones… gnawing, chewing and licking!
FAVORITE ACTIVITY OR PART OF THE EXHIBIT: You’ll find this king-of-the-hill up high on rocks or perches; he’s happiest with an extended view of the yard.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS OR BEHAVIORS: Eko has light vertical lines between his eyes.

Olan

Olan is pretty infatuated with his brothers, so you'll find him trying to start the tiger wrestling matches. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

NAME: Olan - a name of Thai origin meaning “great.”
WEIGHT: 200 lb.
FAVORITE SNACK: Evaporated milk
FAVORITE ACTIVITY OR PART OF THE EXHIBIT: You’ll see Olan playing with his brothers; this rough-houser loves a good wrestling match and is sure to stick close to his best buds.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS OR BEHAVIORS: Olan is very easy to identify! He has O shaped markings between his eyes, and an O above each eye.

All three tigers are incredibly important members of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative conservation program for Malayan tigers and other endangered species among accredited zoos. There are fewer than 60 Malayan tigers living in Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited zoos and possibly fewer than 350 surviving in the wild. 

Woodland Park Zoo

How can you help tigers? To learn more about how you can help tigers and their forests, visit Banyan Wilds opening May 2, and learn about the Woodland Park Zoo-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation PartnershipSeeing tigers is saving tigers. The more people talk about tiger conservation, the more people are willing to support tigers in the wild through legislation, conservation funding and by supporting local on-the-ground partners in Malaysia. 

Spread the word by joining our #ihearttigers contest and tell us why you love tigers. The contest is part of our Show Your Stripes art tour. Ten artist-designed tiger statues will head into Puget Sound neighborhoods this summer to raise awareness for tiger conservation. Enter the contest for a chance to win a private, catered breakfast with the tigers for you and four friends at Banyan Wilds where you can enjoy a special morning with Liem, Eko and Olan! 

Love tigers and tigers will live on.

4 comments:

  1. It will be so fun to see tigers at the zoo again! Down the line, do you plan to bring in any females, for tiger cubs?

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    1. We do indeed hope to form a breeding pair in the future and participate in the Species Survival Plan conservation breeding program. We have built a baby-proofed nursery area that is off-view of the main exhibit but could be opened up to the public for future days when we have young ones of our own!

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  2. In the wild, do male tigers from the same litter stick with each other? Will these brother's eventually grow old enough to want to be away from each other?

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    1. They are still quite young and playful, and they enjoy each other's company. But as they mature they will grow more independent. We have the flexibility to separate them into different exhibit areas if their behavior tells us they need some time on their own. As they get older, we'll have the opportunity to pair them with mates and work with other accredited conservation zoos to find them new homes as adults. We'd also love to have a mate come join one here!

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