The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo participates in the Sumatran Tiger European Endangered Species Program, the most intensive type of population management for a species kept in European Association of Zoos member institutions. This program plans the future management of this magnificent species, of which only around 400 remain in the world. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is home to a male and female pair - Avigdor and Hannah - who have successfully produced three cubs in recent years.
A century ago, more than 100,000 tigers from 8 sub-species were distributed from Turkey in the west across Asia to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the last 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range and 3 sub-species have become extinct: the Balinese Tiger, the Caspian Tiger and the Javanese Tiger. Today, the global population is estimated at less than 4,000 individuals. Sumatran Tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) are Critically Endangered with only around 400 remaining in the world.
This program collects information on the status of all individual Sumatran tigers kept in European Association of Zoos institutions, produces a studbook, carries out demographic and genetic analyses, and produces a plan for the future management of the species. Each year recommendations are made on which animals should breed or not breed, which individual animals should go from one zoo to another, and so on. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo cares for the tigers entrusted to it as part of the program.
The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving member of the Sunda Islands group of tigers that included the now extinct Bali and Javan tigers. This program is essential to ensure the future of this rare species. Coupled with local education and habitat rehabilitation efforts, it is hoped that this breeding program will stop the declining trend for this species and ultimately save it from extinction.