Cantabrians lined up at the Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch today to welcome two rare tigers from Australia.
The pair of four-year-old Sumatran tigers - Reggie and Scout - were transferred from Australia Zoo and arrived in New Zealand almost two weeks ago.
They’re the only tigers in the South Island and are the park’s first major import since the Covid-19 lockdown.
After spending a week in quarantine, the tigers tentatively ventured outside their enclosure for the first time today.
“These two boys Reggie and Scout are amazing ambassadors for their species,” Orana Park exotic species manager Rachael Mason said.
“They are part of a zoo-based breeding programme. They are critically endangered so there's less than 500 animals now in the wild.
“So, it's really important we play our part as a zoo and educate visitors about that plight.”
The tigers are from new blood lines from Indonesia. It's hoped they'll be used for the worldwide breeding programme in a few years’ time.
The species is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is the smallest species of tiger.
Habitat loss and poaching threaten the species’ survival.