If you’re looking for something to do this Memorial Weekend, head over to the Nashville Zoo and see the recently opened Tiger Crossroads exhibit featuring four-year-old female Sumatran tigers.
Originally built in 1989 as a black bear exhibit and then home to Bengal tigers until 2015, the Zoo’s tiger exhibit was in great need of renovation. Improvements to the exhibit enlarged the tigers’ habitat and night quarters, as well as added a new indoor viewing area for guests. The viewing building features reinforced glass panels for the closest possible view of these majestic cats, an interactive training window where guests can see training demonstrations and interactive displays to engage and educate visitors about tiger conservation.
In addition, the outdoor bridge viewing area has been renovated to visually mirror the Asian architectural components featured on the new viewing building. Hand-painted and hand-carved woodwork cover this bridge, as well as the exterior of the viewing building.
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the smallest tiger species in the world and lives between 10-15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in human care. They are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and their population has decreased by 60% in the last 35 years. There are 269 Sumatran tigers in institutions around the globe and 71 in AZA-accredited zoos.
“We are very excited to have Sumatran Tigers here at Nashville Zoo and to share their conservation story,” stated David Oehler, Nashville Zoo Vice President. “With less than 400 individuals left in the wild, it is extremely important to have our guests see these magnificent animals up close and to provide information on how to protect the tigers’ remaining habitat. Protection of targeted habitats from threats, such as conversion of forests into palm oil plantations, is needed to create sustainable landscapes for these elusive animals to survive.”
Nashville Zoo’s Sumatran tigers will act as ambassador animals for their species by educating the public about their importance in the wild. The Tiger Conservation Campaign (TCC), through support provided by Nashville Zoo and other zoos, works to protect and grow tiger populations in their habitats. Working with the Wildlife Conservation Society, TCC devotes its resources to reducing habitat loss, poaching and human/tiger conflicts.
This exhibit was made possible through a lead gift from The Bracken Foundation and with support from the following generous donors: Drew Crawford, EBS Foundation, The Frist Foundation, HCA Healthcare, H.G. Hill Realty Company, The Hagood Family and Mars Petcare.