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A special Earth Day birthday

Earth Day is always cause for celebration, but here on the Mammal Team, there’s an extra special meaning to this day: it’s Sparky’s birthday! Sparky is a Sumatran tiger, one of two at Zoo Atlanta. This Monday, April 22, also known as Earth Day, Sparky will be turning 15! Sparky was born at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana in 2004.

We’ll be celebrating this milestone in Sparky’s life with special enrichment, including a birthday card from his care team and his favorite toy, a gigantic “planet” ball! This is a heavy duty ball made especially to withstand rough play behavior from strong animals like tigers and lions. And we can’t forget the best part of any birthday party – dessert! In this case, Sparky will have his own version of an ice cream cake. Tigers, just like domestic cats, are lactose intolerant, but can still enjoy diluted goats’ milk as an occasional treat. When frozen, these “milkcicles” may not be the kind of ice cream cake we would enjoy, but it’s a tiger favorite!

You can give Sparky a birthday present by protecting his wild, critically endangered cousins using the Sustainable Palm Oil Guide App created by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Natural rainforest habitats are being clear-cut and native species killed to create new oil palm farms in Sumatra, where Sumatran tigers live. This app will show you which products are made with sustainable practices that reduce the amount of rainforests destroyed for palm oil production.

If you’d like to join us in wishing Sparky a happy birthday, stop by Complex Carnivores at 2:30 p.m. on Monday!
Kelly D. and Michelle E.
Mammal Keepers

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