For many, the first time is a let down at best and an awkward disaster at worst. For four-year-old Malayan tiger Tiga Tahun, it was fatal.
Tiga Tahun was supposed to mate with Connor, 2, at the San Diego Zoo. It was the first mating session for both tigers.
Though things got off on the right foot at first -- "a good start," the AP said -- Connor soon displayed "aggressive behavior." Tiga Tahun sustained fatal wounds to her neck before zookeepers could intervene.
According to the Los Angeles Times' account of the attack, only one zookeeper was monitoring the session to make sure things didn't get out of hand, even though tigers are known to do this kind of thing and both tigers involved were inexperienced. "More mature animals know how to keep it from being lethal," a zoo spokeswoman told LAT.
Connor is owned by the San Diego Zoo. Tiga Tahun belonged to Omaha Zoo, but was brought to San Diego to mate with Connor in the hopes that they would add a few more Malayan Tigers to the species count (there are only 500 of them in the wild). Instead, we lost one. The Omaha Zoo is probably isn't too thrilled with the San Diego Zoo right now.
This is not the first time a Malayan tiger from San Diego Zoo murdered a prospective lover. In 2011, Seri, a three-year-old female, killed El Paso Zoo's Wzui, possibly because Wzui was paying too much attention to another woman, the 15-year-old Melor.
Fortunately, Fresno Zoo's Malayan tiger, Mek, was recently discovered to be pregnant with two (possibly three) cubs. So, if you want your endangered tigers bred safely, it's probably best to go there instead of San Diego. Especially since Connor is San Diego's only Malayan tiger right now. And probably for a while.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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