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01 April 2004 1405 BST
Graphic: A-Z of Norfolk Science, Z: Zoo
Picture: tiger
Tigers are beautiful animals

Banham Zoo in Norfolk houses more than 1000 animals from around the world and 150 individual species, many of which are rare and endangered.

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Banham Zoo

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One of the endangered species is a Siberian tiger called Mischa who arrived at Banham Zoo in from the Vienna Zoo in 1999.

Picture: Mischa
Mischa the tiger

The tiger is the largest living cat in the world and there are only about 400 Siberian tigers left in the wild.

At the start of the 20th Century, there were 100,000 tigers in Asia. Now there are only 5000 left - a decrease of 95%.

Tigers can live for 12 to 18 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.

In 2001, a female tiger called Zaliv travelled from Zurich to Banham Zoo to meet up with Mischa, as part of a European captive breeding programme.

The zoo hoped the pair would play their part in preventing the extinction of their breed.

Picture: Wild lemur
A wild lemur

In September 2002 Zaliv produced two healthy male cubs.

But due to her inexperience as a mother Zaliv failed to care for the cubs and so the animals were hand-reared to ensure their survival.

The cubs remained on show at Banham Zoo until the end of the summer 2003.

The zoo has also managed to breed many other species including mongoose, crowned, red bellied and ring tailed lemurs.

Recommended reading
By Sheila McKeown, a librarian at the Millennium Library in Norwich.

Endangered Species: Our Impact on the Planet, by Malcolm Penny. Wayland 2001. ISBN 0750234245.

If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr Seuss. Collins 2000, ISBN 0001720678.

You can get hold of these books through your local library.


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