Devon

Endangered Sumatran tiger for Paignton Zoo

Fabi Image copyright PAignton Zoo
Image caption Fabi, who has already fathered seven cubs, is ranked in the top 15 Sumatran tigers in Europe

A rare Sumatran tiger has arrived at Paignton Zoo in Devon as part of a European breeding programme.

Eight-year-old Fabi was moved from Chester Zoo, where he fathered seven cubs with a female who was born at Paignton.

The move was necessary after Paignton's 14-year-old male, Tenang, had to be put to sleep because of illness in June,

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with just about 300 believed to remain in the wild.

The zoo said the decline in numbers has been caused by habitat loss, poaching and "human-tiger conflict", making the breeding programme vitally important to the future of the species.

'Encouraging vocalisations'

It is hoped Fabi will mate successfully with Paignton's female tiger Shakira.

Curator of mammals at the zoo, Neil Bemment, said initial signs from Fabi were good

"He is settling in very quickly to his new surroundings and early signs are good, with lots of encouraging vocalisations," he added.

Fabi and Shakira are important genetically, with both of them ranked in the top 15 Sumatran tigers in Europe, because their blood lines have not been "over represented" or diluted.

Stewart Muir from Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust said: "We hope that Fabi and Shakira will breed successfully and help us to help the dwindling population of Sumatran tigers."

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