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Year-old male represents one of the world’s rarest big cat species  

ATLANTA – November 30, 2023 Zoo Atlanta is thrilled to welcome Bob, a 1-year-old male Sumatran tiger, to the animal population. Bob arrived in the evening of November 29, 2023, from the Oklahoma City Zoo. His move was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP).  

Zoo Atlanta is currently home to a female Sumatran tiger, Chelsea, who at 20 years old, is considered geriatric for a tiger. Like all tigers, Sumatran tigers are a solitary species, with males and females generally spending time together only during breeding. Due to Chelsea’s age, this pair will not be introduced for breeding; it is hoped that Bob will have an opportunity to be paired with a younger female in the future.  

“Bob is a very exciting and important addition to the animal population at Zoo Atlanta,” said Sam Rivera, DVM, Vice President of Animal Health. “Every species here at the Zoo has a story to tell in terms of its biology and behavior, intrinsic value, role in its ecosystem, and the power of our everyday actions to impact the future of our planet’s wildlife. Few species give us a better opportunity to tell that story than the Sumatran tiger.”  

One of the rarest mammal species at Zoo Atlanta, the Sumatran tiger is also one of the world’s rarest tiger subspecies. Listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sumatran tigers are believed to number fewer than 400 in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They face serious pressures from habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, particularly as a result of deforestation for palm oil plantations, and illegal poaching for their skins and bones, which are believed by some cultures to have medicinal value. Tigers are also killed by humans when they approach local villages and prey on livestock.  

All six remaining tiger subspecies are critically endangered or endangered, and three subspecies are recent extinctions. The Bali tiger, Caspian tiger and Javan tiger all went extinct in the 20th century. The South China tiger, which has not been documented in the wild since the 1980s, likely now only exists in human care. 

Zoo Atlanta is one of only a small number of zoos to pursue and attain membership in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil™ (RSPO). Zoo Atlanta and many other AZA zoos are vocal advocates for encouraging the use of only sustainably produced palm oil, the unsustainable harvest of which threatens the survival of Sumatran tigers, Sumatran orangutans, and many other species. 

Zoo Atlanta is a participating partner in the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, a coalition of AZA zoos and aquariums, nonprofits, and corporate organizations working to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and reduce consumer demand. The Zoo’s Corridor to Change pathway highlights the global impact of the trade, with an interactive display educating guests about the pervasive nature of wildlife trafficking as detected at major airports around the world, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Importantly, Corridor to Change also sheds light on the role of social media in fueling the wildlife trade and the negative impact on animal populations that can result from the sharing of content featuring wild animals in unsuitable care situations or selfies of inappropriate and unsafe encounters with animals such as primates and large cats.  

Bob will complete a routine quarantine period of around a month before being visible to Members and guests in the Zoo’s John P. Imlay Tiger Habitat.

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