Sumatran tiger

Meet our Big Cats

We have five beautiful Sumatran tigers living at Hamilton Zoo.

Mencari: (Pronounced Menjari, Meaning - prowl)
Born at Wellington Zoo January 10, 2000. She moved to Hamilton Zoo in 2001.

Oz: (Hebrew for strength)
Born in Tel Aviv Zoo in Israel, 22 November 2004. He moved to Hamilton Zoo in 2013.

Sali: (Meaning - Steadfast)
Born at Perth Zoo 10 April, 2008. She moved to Hamilton Zoo in 2012.

Kirana: (Meaning - Beautiful ray of light)
Born at Hamilton Zoo 16 November, 2014

Kembali: (Meaning - Return)
Born at Hamilton Zoo 16 November, 2014

Kembali and Kirana are the son and daughter of Oz and Sali.

Tiger Cubs Born at Hamilton Zoo

  • Tiger cubs born at Hamilton Zoo

Home at the Zoo

Our tigers are housed in two enclosures; both have off-display areas and night dens.

Can't see a tiger? That's because they are very good at hiding. Big enclosures mean there is plenty of vegetation to provide shade and a place to hide.

Tigers are solitary animals and come together for breeding. Sali and her son Kembali and daughter Kirana are kept together but separated from dad Oz. Oz and Mencari spend some time together but are often kept separated. They each get a turn being out in the enclosure each day and while not on display they are resting in their night den.

Sumatran tigers are known to be efficient swimmers. If given the chance the tiger will run hoofed-prey into the water where the animal is at a much greater disadvantage because they can't swim well with their long, thin legs. The larger exhibit here at the zoo has a large pond and the smaller exhibit 'pond' is a trough. We try and encourage the tigers into the water by placing a mussel buoy in there for them to play with.

Oz Wants His Mussel Buoy!

  • Oz the Tiger - Hamilton Zoo

Feeding Time

Carnivores (meat eaters) normally hunt and kill their prey in the wild.

We get our meat from a specialist pet food supplier. Keepers try to simulate natural feeding patterns for our tigers and other carnivores. In the wild not all hunts are successful and as a result a tiger compensates by being able to eat a large amount of food at one time. At the zoo the tigers are fed differing amounts each day. Most food is fed in the mornings and the remaining amount spread out during the rest of the day. Food is often hidden around their enclosure to trigger their natural hunting ability. They also receive different cuts of meat and are made to work for their meal, for example sometimes meat carcass is chained to a tree.

The amount of horse meat for two tigers over a two week period is:
- 2 horse heads
- 4 horse legs
- 18kg horse meat
- 21kg on bone

Now You See Me...

The tiger's stripes are its camouflage, an adaptation which serves to protect them.

You may wonder why tigers, should need to be camouflaged, after all, they are the most feared animals of the jungle and have no enemies except man. It is simply that tigers live and hunt in tall grass and tangled undergrowth. By blending in with these areas, they can sneak up on their prey, undetected.

The tiger's stripes aid in making it the perfect hunter that it is. But its beautiful striped coat is also one the main reasons that the tiger has become an endangered species. The tiger is now protected in most Asian countries, but the numbers of tigers left in the wild are startlingly low.

Their Survival is in Our Hands

In the last 25 years, the island of Sumatra has lost 50% of its forest cover.

Extensive habitat loss and fragmentation has forced tigers to live in small, isolated pockets of remaining habitat, making it harder for them to reproduce. Increased road networks and reduced habitat size also leave tigers exposed to poachers.

Consumer demands for tiger parts poses the largest threat to tiger survival. Tigers are being hunted for their skin, bones, teeth and claws, which are highly valued for their use in traditional Asian medicine, various folk remedies and various products. Unless poaching for body parts is stopped, Indonesia's Sumatran tiger could be the first large predator to become extinct this century.

There are many ways we can help these amazing animals. Palm oil is a vegetable oil used in many of the foods we eat and products we use every day. If we reduce our palm oil consumption, we can help reduce demand and slow the uncontrolled expansion of palm oil plantations. We can help by shopping wisely. Download the free shopping guide to help you choose products that are palm oil free.

Helping Give Wild Tigers a Future

Hamilton Zoo help tigers in the wild through the Hamilton Zoo Conservation Fund.

21st Century Tiger supports projects in many of the 13 tiger range countries. Core projects receiving long-term support are in Russia, India and Sumatra.

All projects submitted to 21st Century Tiger for funding are examined by a panel of international experts. The projects must have sound practical, scientific and conservation value and use local staff wherever possible.

Here at Hamilton Zoo, we support these programmes with financial assistance to their selected campaigns. To date $9,500 has been raised by the Hamilton Zoo Conservation Fund.