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Amazing Azul—the zoo's first female Malayan tiger makes her debut!

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications

Malayan tiger, Azul, is making herself right at home in her Banyan Wilds habitat. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo has a new queen of the jungle: 5-year-old Azul recently arrived in Seattle all the way from the Bronx Zoo in New York City and now she’s ready to meet all of you! The beautiful young Malayan tiger spent 30 days in standard quarantine under the watchful eye of Woodland Park Zoo’s veterinary care team and is now ready to roam through the zoo's naturalistic Banyan Wilds habitat.

5-year-old Azul was born at Bronx Zoo in New York City. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Azul was born at the Bronx Zoo on January 5, 2016, and had to be hand-raised in the days following her birth because her mother was not giving her proper care. That kind of upbringing means that Azul has an especially calm and mellow nature—she’s taken very well to her animal keepers here in her new home!

Azul! Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Tigers are primarily solitary, except for a breeding female or one with cubs—so for now, when you see Azul she will have the habitat all to herself.  She'll take turns out there, rotating in and out of the space with our 10-year-old male tiger Bumi who has lived here since 2019. Our plan is to introduce Azul to Bumi sometime in the future in the hopes that the two will eventually have cubs. The last time Woodland Park Zoo had tiger cubs was 2006.

10-year-old Bumi is our male Malayan tiger. Since they are solitary except for breeding, he will rotate time in the exhibit with Azul. Eventually we hope they will produce cubs. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Bumi and Azul have been paired by a recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of tigers. Led by experts in husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care, behavior, and genetics, Species Survival Plans also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects. 

Azul is the zoo's first female Malayan tiger. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

There are six subspecies of tigers: Malayan tigers are a bit smaller than Bengal tigers, and are found in the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests of the southern tip of Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. There are only about 200 Malayan tigers left in the wild, which is why cubs are especially important to the survival of this species.

Up close with Azul! Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

None of this would be possible without the generosity of Rosemarie Havranek, a board member and longtime supporter of Woodland Park Zoo, and her family. Not only did their family's gift provide resources for the tiger’s safe move and veterinary care, but they also funded much-needed improvements to the tiger exhibit and provided support for Malayan tiger conservation.

“Conservation is extremely important to me and our family. Tigers especially hold a special place in our hearts. We need to take care of the world around us or it will not be here for future generations,” explained Havranek. “I feel a very special connection to Azul — I grew up with the Bronx Zoo in my backyard, which is also where Azul was born."

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

How you can help save tigers
Did you know 95% of all tigers have been lost in the last 100 years alone? In an effort to save these iconic big cats from extinction, in 2013 Woodland Park Zoo created a partnership with Panthera and Rimba, an in-country field partner of the zoo, to launch the Malayan Tiger Conservation Project. This project is a 10-year initiative with the Terengganu State Government to protect tigers in and around Taman Negara National Park in peninsular Malaysia. Visit to help support the Woodland Park Zoo-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation Project.

Hey Azul, does that tree taste good? Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Adopt your own digital tiger!
Show your love and care for tigers with a digital adoption through the zoo’s ZooParent adoption program. Donations go directly to Woodland Park Zoo’s amazing animal care and the zoo’s wildlife conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Visit

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