Diana arrived in the City of Trees on Sunday from Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown, South Dakota. Amur tigers are endangered, and it is estimated that there are only about 540 left in the wild.
Boise had been without a tiger since March 2018 after 14-year-old Katarina was euthanized by veterinarian staff due to complications from a back injury.
“Our tiger exhibit has always been a favorite for Zoo Boise visitors,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway in a press release. “We are so excited to introduce a new generation to this incredible animal.”
Diana weighs approximately 370 pounds and eats about 7 pounds of raw meat per day, zoo officials said. She was relaxing peacefully in the afternoon sun Thursday in a grassy area of her exhibit that includes a dipping pool. Plans are already in the works to add more enrichment items for Diana, including an interactive tug-of-war that would allow visitors to see how strong she is.
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan recommended that Diana come to Boise on a breeding hold, although there are no immediate plans for that process to begin.
“There are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas than there are left in the wild,” Zoo Boise Assistant Director Liz Littman said. “Tigers are seriously threatened from poaching, from livestock conflicts, from habitat loss, a real variety of things. So zoos are helping to maintain that population.
“Diana here is in the breeding plan, so it might be a few years from now we get a male and they breed here. She might eventually go to another zoo to breed, and we’d get another non-breeding animal.”
If a second tiger is eventually added to the Boise exhibit, it would not be in the same enclosure as Diana. Tigers are solitary animals.
“A lot of people may come to the zoo and say, ‘Oh, she seems kind of lonely,’” Littman said. “In the wild, tigers do live solitarily unless it’s during breeding season or it’s a female with cubs.”
Diana was transported to Zoo Boise in a specialized truck by two drivers trained in animal care.
While Diana is already on exhibit, she may not always be visible to the public as she explores her new surroundings and continues training with zookeepers.
“This is a special time for Zoo Boise and we are pleased to welcome Diana to our animal family,” Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock said. “She will help us continue our mission to educate the public about endangered species and the AZA’s efforts to protect them.”
Zoo Boise is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily through May. Hours extend to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June through August.