Male tiger at London zoo mauls intended female mate to death as staff helplessly tried to separate the two animals
The two tigers had been introduced to each other in the hope that they would see each other as mates.
A male tiger mauled his potential partner to death after the two tigers were put into the same enclosure after being moved into the London zoo.
The 7-year-old male Sumatran tiger Asim killed 10-year-old tigress Melati after Asim was moved to the zoo as a part of a European wide conservation breeding programme. Asim had come from a safari park located in Denmark and authorities had hoped that Asim would mate with Melati.
Sumatran tiger killed by potential mate on first meeting in London Zoo.— Maria Donnellan Mella Ⓥ (@eyre_mella) February 9, 2019
London Zoo tigress Melati brutally killed by tiger brought to UK to be her mate
Melati was killed yesterday by potential mate, Asim
"RIP Melati, over the rainbow bridge." 🐯🌈 https://t.co/q6R2kBwg2E pic.twitter.com/TLWjoagBMs
The two tigers had been placed in adjoining pens for more than a week in order for them to become acquainted with each other. However, he attacked her after they were placed within the same 2,500sq metre enclosure. The zoo staff helplessly watched from the side and attempted to distract Asim with loud noises, flares, and alarms but failed.
Asim managed to overpower and kill Melati. A spokesman for the London Zoo shared that the staff were "devastated" and also "heartbroken". "As with all big cats, introductions, however carefully planned, are always considered to be high risk. This morning, the two tigers were in separate paddocks and the adjoining door was opened to allow them to meet," the spokesman shared.
"Asim approached Melati and, as expected by keepers, the two tigers were initially cautious. Their introduction began as predicted, but quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction. Zoo staff immediately implemented their prepared response, using loud noises, flares and alarms to try and distract the pair, but Asim had already overpowered Melati," the spokesman continued.
"Zookeepers were eventually able to secure Asim in a separate paddock so that they could safely get to Melati where our vets confirmed that she had sadly died," the spokesman added.
The Zoo had announced Asim's arrival from Ree Park Safari in Denmark on January 29. Kathyrn Sanders who is the head tiger keeper described Asim as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life." "We're hoping he'll be the perfect mate for our beautiful Melati," Sanders added. The tiger area was closed for the day post the death.
According to the London Zoo, the Sumatran tiger faces threats of poaching as well as loss of habitat. When these tigers are held in captivity, they can live for around 20 years.