Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

New tiger introduced to London Zoo immediately kills its mate

New tiger introduced to London Zoo immediately kills its mate

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 tigers were kept apart in separate enclosures initially, but they were introduced after a while.

Seven-year-old tiger Asim was brought to the zoo as a mate for Melati.

Zookeepers who acted quickly were able to safely get Asim back in a separate area, but it was too late. However, keepers were devastated, when Asim, fatally attacked Melati, reported CNN.

Melati, a female tiger and long-term resident of the zoo, was introduced to a new male tiger, Asim, on Friday in the hope the pair would breed in the future.

The pair were matched as part of a Europe-wide breeding programme, with keepers assessing seven-year-old Asim - whose name means "protector" in Arabic - as being a "handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life".

Sumatran tiger named Asim at London Zoo (AP Photo) The animal's handlers scrambled in vain to intervene, the zoo said, "using loud noises, flares and alarms to try and distract the pair, but Asim had already overpowered Melati".

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But after Asim approached Melati, matters "quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction", the zoo said.

Malcolm Fitzpatrick, senior curator of mammals, said introductions of large predators were "high risk" but it was "important they are moved around".

Ahead of Asim's arrival, the zoo described the large cat as "handsome", "confident" and said he was "known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life - we're hoping he'll be the flawless mate for our attractive Melati".

According to London Zoo, the Sumatran tiger faces threats of poaching and habitat loss.

In the wild, Sumatran tigers are listed as "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Speaking about Asim's condition, Mr Fitzpatrick said the tiger had been through a "traumatic event" and suffered minor injuries, which were being "monitored".

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