Thimbu's Debut: Endangered Amur Tiger Introduced At Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Dec 23, 2019

He arrived by Fed Ex cargo plane from Colorado.  He weighs 450 pounds and likes the smell of Prada perfume and fresh brewed coffee.  And he’s the newest addition to the Rosamond Gifford zoo.  WAER was one of the only media outlets on hand for Monday's introduction of Thimbu the Amur Tiger . 

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon tried to round up children to get a better look.

"Come on up, come on kids, come on up," he said.  

"Oh, here he comes," one visitor said.  "Here is is.  Oh my goodness.  Wow!"

The crowd admired the new tiger as he slowly emerged into his new home.

"He probably smells the scent of the past tigers that were in here," said Zoo Director Ted Fox. "So he's a little uncertain about whether he should be in this territory or not. Once he figures out its his, he'll be a lot more comfortable."

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon attended the event.

"Obviously we were very, very sad when we lost our tiger earlier this year in the fall," said McMahon. "So this is great that right away our team got to work. Because of their diligence we have this beautiful tiger to share with the community."

"This is one of the best exhibits in the country for them," said Fox. "Because in Russia and Northern China where they come from, their natural range, this is very similar in topography and species of trees that are here. Certainly the temperature, they get snow there as well. So this is really a perfect environment for them."

Zoo Director Ted Fox continued, "He hasn't produced cubs before. He is nine years old, and they are really anxious to have his genetics into the North American population. We're going to be getting a female in the spring."

"She's a little bit younger and needs to stay with her family a little bit longer. But they're genetically very valuable too. So when she comes, hopefully in the not too distant future, we'll have cubs again here."

For an early Christmas prsent, zoo staff prpared some meat in a gift wrapped box near the viewing windows.  Thimbu gobbled it up once he acclimated to his new surroundings. Amur tigers are endangered. Fewer than 500 of them exist in the wild.