HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just in time for Valentine's, Malosi, a male tiger from the Honolulu Zoo will be flying to Tacoma, Washington for a chance to mate.
Zoo handlers hope love will be in the air as Malosi meets Jaya, the Point Defiance zoo's female tiger.
"The Honolulu Zoo is proud of the important role it continues to play in the collection of scientific data and successful breeding of Sumatran tigers to enhance conservation efforts and help save this amazing animal," said Honolulu Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo.
"The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered and we are working hard to protect and boost the population of this extraordinary species," said Point Defiance zoo's general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck.
To ease his transition and reduce potential stress, Malosi will be escorted to Tacoma Tuesday by his lifelong Honolulu Zookeeper Kristen Scheidley and by Port Defiance Zookeeper Paul Povey. A Brigham Young University student will join them to collect and record information about stress indicators and ameliorating factors.
Malosi was born at the Honolulu Zoo in September 2008, along with male cubs Keahi and Tondi. Keahi transitioned well last year to his new home at the Sendai Yagiyama Zoo in Japan, and Tondi is expected to go to the Parc des Félins near Paris, France later this year. Their parents, Berani and Chrissie, will remain in Honolulu.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered. In the wild, they are found only in the forests of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. Indonesia has 65 Sumatran tigers living in zoos, and others live in zoos in Europe, North America and Australia.
Scientists estimate that more than 100,000 tigers roamed the forests of central and southern Asia at the dawn of the Twentieth Century, but that the population has been reduced to approximately 6,000. Three tiger subspecies are already extinct. Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the five remaining subspecies.
The name Malosi means strong and powerful in Samoan.