We are very excited to welcome our brand new Amur tiger, Diana. She comes to Zoo Boise from the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown, South Dakota. For all you superhero fans, YES, she was named after Wonder Woman (Diana Prince).
The first step in transporting a tiger is conducting pre-shipment medical exams, which typically includes a physical examination, weight check, routine blood work, urinalysis, vaccine boosters, and other tests. Once she passed those tests, she was shifted into a crate and truck for transport. The metal crate was large enough to ensure she could stand up and turn around inside. Her journey from South Dakota took 19 hours as two zoo professionals drove her to Zoo Boise without stopping. Having two drivers ensured they wouldn’t have to stop for rest or meals and could drive continuously only stopping to quickly refuel the truck.
Police and Zoo Boise staff were both on hand when Diana arrived in Boise. This was for the safety of both her and the staff. We had to wait until the zoo was closed to move her into the exhibit and that all non-essential staff had left for the day.
Zoo Boise staff used a skid-steer to unload Diana’s crate from the transport truck into her exhibit.
The goal was to get Diana into her den, where zookeepers could conduct observations of her in a safe environment. Zoo Boise staff positioned the crate right up against the entrance of her den. This was to ensure the only place she could go was into the den and not into the exhibit. Staff used several straps to tether the crate down. Amur tigers are extremely strong and they had to ensure she couldn’t get out into the exhibit where everyone was working. Once the crate was secure, they opened the crate and den doors and she entered her den.
Since arriving at Zoo Boise, Diana has adjusted very well to her new home. She is enjoying the sunshine, her new rock platform, and laying in the grass.
Amur tigers are endangered – it is estimated that there are only about 540 left in the wild. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums, of which Zoo Boise is a member, has a Species Survival Plan (SSP) for every endangered species. The goal of the Amur tiger SSP is to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population for the long-term future of tigers. The Amur tiger SSP recommended that Diana come to Zoo Boise on a breeding hold, although there are no immediate plans for that process to begin.
In 2007, Zoo Boise became the first zoo in the country to create a conservation fee. The 50¢ fee, charged in addition to the admission price, was designed to fund conservation projects taking place in Idaho and around the world. More importantly it changed the purpose of a zoo visit—empowering visitors to help save the very creatures they were seeing. Additional mechanisms were created, including a conservation fee on memberships, the chance to feed a giraffe or a sloth bear in exchange for a small fee, the opportunity to take a conservation cruise to see monkeys or feed goats and sheep in our Zoo Farm. All these little conservation fees, multiplied by our hundreds of thousands of visitors, have now generated more than $2 million to date for the conservation of animals around the world.