New tiger introduced to London Zoo immediately kills its mate

Lamar Ellis
February 12, 2019

Staff at London Zoo have been left devastated after their female tiger Melati was mauled to death during her first date with her potential mate.

The male, Asim, killed long-term resident Melati on Friday, 10 days after he was brought over from Denmark.

A statement released after the incident on Friday said staff were "devastated" and "heartbroken by this turn of events".

Asim and Melati were matched through the European Endangered Species Program for Sumatran tigers, which seeks to rescue the cats from near-extinction, the zoo said.

The two tigers were initially kept in separate, adjoining enclosures, where keepers allowed the two animals to "smell and react to each other".

The zoo said that its experts had been completely watching the Tigers reactions to each other since Asim arrived and had seen "positive signs" that showed the two should be put together.

Asim a new addition to London Zoo killed Melati as shocked handlers tried in vain to intervene
APAsim a new addition to London Zoo killed Melati as shocked handlers tried in vain to intervene

But tensions "quickly escalated", things became "more aggressive" and Melati died in a fight, the zoo said.

The statement 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".

In the wild, Sumatran tigers are listed as "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The last of Indonesia's tigers - less than 400 today - are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra.

Asim, a new addition to London Zoo, killed Melati as shocked handlers tried in vain to intervene. During the introduction, Asim overpowered Melati in a fight.

Heralding his arrival, the zoo described him as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life", adding that "we're hoping he'll be the flawless mate for our attractive Melati".

The zoo had hoped the pair would be compatible as their previous male tiger, Jae-Jae, sired seven cubs with Melati before he was moved to French zoo Le Parc des Félins, on 30 January.

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