WILMINGTON –-(Ammoland.com)- The Brandywine Zoo’s Amur tiger, Zhanna, is scheduled to be transferred to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in New York early in January 2017, according to DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation in partnership with zoo officials and the Delaware Zoological Society.
The relocation is prompted by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan – a robust and scientific endeavor to manage the genetic diversity of captive species. Zhanna’s genetic profile and age make her a good candidate for breeding and consequently, for transfer to a zoo with a successful tiger breeding program.
“As an AZA Accredited institution, the Brandywine Zoo is committed to species conservation,” said Brandywine Zoo General Curator Lynn Klein. “We rely on the cooperation among zoos to ensure a healthy, genetically diverse population.”
Amur tigers are an endangered species, with fewer than 500 living in small populations in far eastern Russia and northeast China. The tigers are losing their habitat due to logging activities, human encroachment and poaching. The AZA supports habitat protection and anti-poaching programs and at the same time, also supports careful matching of breeding pairs in captivity within the AZA accredited facilities. Zhanna was born at the St. Louis Zoo and she is one of only 300 tigers in zoos accredited by the AZA.
“Zhanna is a beloved animal at the Brandywine Zoo and we will all miss her,” said Michael T. Allen, Executive Director of the Delaware Zoological Society. “We wish her the best and look at this as a new beginning for Zhanna and an opportunity to embark on a new phase of development at the Brandywine Zoo.”
Zhanna came to the Brandywine Zoo in 2011 at the age of three. She was born and reared by her mother with her siblings at the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri.
The tiger care and breeding program at the Bronx Zoo is considered exemplary by zoo officials around the world. Zhana’s new home at the Bronx Zoo’s Tiger Mountain is an open range exhibit with grasslands, trees and multi-level habitat for the tigers in public view, and also features a state-of-the-art, off-exhibit area
Zhanna’s keepers at the Brandywine Zoo will accompany the transport team and help Zhanna acclimate to her new home. They will work with the Bronx Zoo tiger keepers to transfer knowledge for a seamless transition of her care. There are no plans, at this time, to add another tiger at the Brandywine Zoo.
The public is invited to say farewell to Zhanna at the Brandywine Zoo Wednesday through Sunday in December, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – no admission will be charged. The Brandywine Zoo will celebrate her “New Beginning” on Saturday, Dec. 31 from 1 – 2 p.m.
Gates on Dec. 31 will open at 10 a.m. for the zoo’s “Noon Year’s Eve” event, a family-friendly celebration of the New Year with games and crafts. Admission will be charged until noon; $5 per person for ages three and older, and no charge to Delaware Zoological Members. Admission will be free from noon until 3:30 p.m.
The Brandywine Zoo is located at 1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19802. It is open Wednesday – Sunday through February, and all week from March through mid-November from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.brandywinezoo.org or call 302-571-7747.
The Brandywine Zoo is part of the Delaware State Parks and is managed by the Delaware Division of Parks & Recreation with the support of the Delaware Zoological Society, the non-profit volunteer organization that supports the mission of the Brandywine Zoo.