Zoo Boise, a division of Boise Parks and Recreation, is happy to announce the arrival of its newest family member. Akasha, an eleven-year-old female Amur tiger, arrived in Boise on May 6 and is adjusting well to her new home.
Akasha is Zoo Boise’s new resident in the freshly rebranded ReTIGERment Home. Now that Akasha is past her prime breeding age, she needs a good place to live out her golden years. At Zoo Boise, Akasha will have a plethora of amenities including: zoo chefs, cleaning services, entertainment in the form of enrichment and training, health care, and a maintenance crew eager to repair anything that comes up with her home. Tigers are solitary and enjoy being alone, so having a private residence and access to a pool at Zoo Boise are both important to Akasha.
Life expectancy for Amur tigers in the wild is around 11 years, but they typically live longer in zoos.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Zoo Boise to welcome an animal into our family and take great care of her while advancing our conservation mission,” said Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock.
By retiring at Zoo Boise, Akasha is helping tiger conservation efforts by freeing up space at another zoo. That space can be filled by a breeding pair of tigers who have been matched by the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is one of the many conservation projects by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The goal of an SSP is to ensure a genetically healthy and viable population of tigers within accredited zoos, in case reintroduction into the wild is ever necessary.
“To have a very successful program, zoos across the nation need to work collaboratively to meet both the welfare and genetic pairing needs of species in their care in order to sustain a healthy population,” said Amur Tiger SSP Vice Coordinator Trista Fischer. “We are very grateful to Zoo Boise for taking in Akasha, spoiling her during her retirement years, and helping both the Amur and Sumatran tiger populations.”
Akasha was born at the Denver Zoo, but spent most of her life at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana. Amur tigers are endangered, which makes her move to Boise even more important. The public is welcome to view Akasha in her habitat at Zoo Boise. While Akasha is adjusting to her outside habitat, she will have access to her inside home as well, which means sometimes she may not be viewable to the public.
Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Since 2007, visits to Zoo Boise have generated more than $3 million towards the conservation of animals in the wild. Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education, and science.
Photo courtesy of Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.