The Los Angeles Zoo began what is a "very delicate introduction process" this past June of 2106 in order to bring together two Sumatran tigers. Four-year-old CJ and two-year-old Indah are now steady companions after more than six months of taking the necessary steps to introduce the two. According to Dorothy Belanger, senior animal keeper at the L.A. Zoo, "Introducing two tigers can be an extremely sensitive process that requires time and patience."
Indah, who came from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, and CJ, who came from the Sacramento Zoo, were brought together as potential breeding partners. But at first, it wasn't clear whether they'd take to each other very well.
Belanger goes on to say, "You would never want to immediately put two tigers together in the same place because they are territorial by nature." Familiarity and trust between animals are key. To start the process, the tigers are introduced by simply allowing them to see each other without even being in the same space.
During this time, Indah was given the chance to explore CJ's habitat at night alone, free from interference. Eventually, after six months of delicately bringing the tigers closer and closer together without officially meeting, the tigers had their first date in December. Luckily, they got on swimmingly and they've been sharing the same habitat ever since. The lovebirds seem to be a happy couple just in time for Valentine's Day!
We at Gallery Drinkware love these heartwarming animal stories, especially since so much of what we hear about our natural world these days is negative. Of course we'd love it even more if these two tigers were roaming free in their own natural habitat, but when responsible zoos diligently work to help boost the populations of critically endangered species (Sumatran tigers fall under this category), we are excited to hear that these animals have some hope. Happy Valentine's Day, all!