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Recent Zoo News Tiger Stories

Don't Miss This Tiger Tale


'Tigerrific' boost for conservation
Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, Page 5, February 14 2004

Remember the first swimming lesson? I bet you weren't anywhere as near as confident as a baby Bengal Tiger. Born with a natural affinity with the water, at 12 weeks of age the little tiger cubs' first few swimming lessons are going “tigerrific”. Being one of the only big cats that like water, in the wild tigers would naturally spend many hours a day lounging around in the shallows of a stream to beat the heat of the day.

The tiger cub exhibit is a part of the next stage of development for Australia Zoo which will encompass displays of South East Asian and Madagascan wildlife. This will expand the 60 acres to over 250 acres. Other zoological regions to be developed at Australia Zoo include a huge Africa division.

The Zoo's tiger cub interactive experience generates funds towards tiger conservation. For your opportunity to have a Tiger Cub Experience, contact Australia Zoo on 5436 2000.

Just the ticket for new movie and tiger cubs

Just the Ticket

Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, page 3, Friday 26th March, 2004
By: Lisa Kither

What better way to spend a Saturday than combining the chance to meet the three beautiful Bengal tigers from Australia Zoo with a special preview screening of Mike Myers' latest flick The Cat in the Hat?

Well tomorrow you can – and tickets are even almost half their normal price for the occasion.

Birch Carroll & Coyle Sunshine Plaza is hosting this special event and tickets are on sale from the cinema now for just $7.

The screening is on at 10am tomorrow and all money raised from ticket sales will go to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Fund.

The three playful tigers, just 20 weeks of age, will be in the foyer from 9.15am.

Those attending the screening will also be able to bid for some unique “tiger art” which is sure to raise even more money for this great cause.

The male tiger cubs joined the Australia Zoo family last December in an effort to raise awareness of the pressures on the decline of tiger numbers in the wild.

Bengal Tigers are disappearing at an alarming rate because of habitat destruction and poaching. It is estimated that there are only between 2000 and 3000 Bengal Tigers left in the world.

The event is supported by Australia Zoo. For more information contact the cinema. The Cat in the Hat opens nationally next Thursday.

Nine Lives

Nine Lives

Source: Weekender Magazine, Page 12, May 27 2004
By: Anastasia Hackett

For most people, rolling around with a tiger is the stuff of nightmares but for three local blokes it's a dream come true. They chew the fat with Anastasia Hackett.

Blue-eyed baby tiger triplets cuddle up in the corner while their three surrogate fathers discuss their antics with pride in their eyes. “You've pretty much got to keep a 24-hour watch for the first five months,” says supervisor Robbie Doyle. “It's just like having a baby – three of them,” adds senior handler Giles Clark. Then manager Bruce Murdock chimes in, “They're better than a baby, though. You can kick them out earlier.”

This strange little family is the latest addition to Australia Zoo. In an effort to begin a breeding program, the zoo adopted three two-week-old Sumatran cubs to join the three six-month-old Bengals already in the tiger compound. “We consider these guys as the luckiest and most enriched cats in captivity because they are constantly stimulated and receive really hands-on training,” says Robbie. Hands-on is almost an understatement. Robbie has been virtually living with the new cubs since they arrived five weeks ago. Someone has to be there around the clock for all the traditional parental duties – supply five feeds a day, sterilise bottles, take them out for exercise, entertain them with toys, break up fights and, of course, clean up.

“You've got to do a lot of down-time with them so they basically get bored with you over a period of time so when you walk out the gate you are not a novelty,” explains Bruce. It's a strategy he's spent more than a decade perfecting in zoos and at Dreamworld's tiger island where all three trainers worked before moving to the Sunshine Coast. It's not the sort of job that comes with an instruction manual. “It's more a matter of people tried it and died and refined the technique from there,” says Bruce with a spooky sort of seriousness. But he is quick to add that the most dangerous thing about tigers is their fear and they usually attack only when they feel threatened.

All the guys have had a few near misses. “They are never going to be tame. They are always going to have their teeth and their claws and their instinct. You're not going to take the wild out of them, they're still tigers,” says Giles.

The wild is not something these guys wish to remove; in fact the main focus of their project is to save it. Only about 4000 tigers remain in their natural habitat. Three of the eight tiger sub-species are now extinct and only a few hundred Sumatran tigers remain.

While the Australia Zoo breeding program aims to sustain this endangered group, it will never be possible for the tigers born in captivity to be released into the wild. That's why a crucial part of the program's focus is to donate funds to localised conservation programs like the Lifeforce project in India where Giles previously worked. “If we can inspire just 10 percent of the people that come through here to put back into projects in the wild and change their attitudes toward conservation, we'll be a success,” says Giles.

Some of the things they want the average consumer to recognise are that some timber and paper products used in Australia are logged, sometimes illegally, from traditional tiger habitats. “This is not just the tigers, the elephants and the pandas, it's me, you and your grandchildren,” says Giles.

Sumatran Tiger cubs arrive at Australia Zoo

Sumatran Tiger Cubs Arrive

News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, page 2, 28 May, 2004

The newest members of Australia Zoo made their debut to the media yesterday – three Sumatran tiger cubs. And “cute” didn't go far enough to describe the eight-week-old female and two males who are as yet unnamed.

Australia Zoo's marketing manager Peter Lang said it was a proud day for the Zoo. He said there were only 500 left in the wild worldwide so as well as being a cute edition to the Zoo, they have taken on a more serious role becoming part of the future breeding program and ultimately tiger conservation. With more than 50 Sumatran tigers being killed annually we could witness the species extinction in just a few short years. “We want to introduce people to the Sumatrans and the Bengals so people understand how beautiful and exciting they are and experience them, then help us save them,” Mr Lang said. ”In the future we will be getting more tigers to start the breeding program at Australia Zoo. We are building state-of-the art expansive new tiger habitat and that will part of our Asia Madagascar exhibit opening soon.” Along with the tigers, there will be elephants, otters, urangatangs and many other exotic animals from Asia and Madagascar. “Sure it's fun and a nice cuddly experience but on the serious side we are committed to wildlife and habitat conservation.” Mr Lang said the money raised through the Australia Zoo tiger experience went to the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation to save the tigers.

The new babies will be on display from 10am to 2pm every day, along with the Bengal tiger kittens which do their tiger walks around the park.

Zoo introduces three Sumatran cubs

Zoo Introduces

News Source: The Range News, page 15, 3 June, 2004
By: Kate Johns

Australia Zoo has introduced three new members to the Australia Zoo family. These gorgeous new additions are Sumatran Tiger cubs at only eight weeks of age. The cubs have been hand raised since they were two weeks of age after being born at Mogo Zoo on the south coast of NSW.

The Sumatran tiger cubs are part of Australia Zoo's tiger conservation scheme on educating the public about these magnificent creatures. The cubs will participate in an international breeding program to try and increase the number of Sumatran tigers.

At the moment there are an astonishing 300 to 400 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild. With over 50 Sumatran tigers being killed annually for bones and body parts which are used in Traditional Chinese Medicines around the world. Australia Zoo is planning to have the best Tiger conservation destination in the world.

“We have less than 400 Sumatran tigers in the world with 200 in captivity – we need to change that” said Steve Irwin. ”We have set aside 100 acres out the back to build a multi-million dollar tiger facility which will be the largest in the world.”

All proceeds from the tiger souvenirs at Australia Zoo goes towards tiger conservation.

Singha's cuddles show why tiger woman Lisa loves her job..

Tiger Handler Lisa

News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, page 1 & 2, Saturday 3rd July, 2004
By: Belinda Warren

Like many before her, when Lisa Baker joined Australia Zoo as a casual admission officer, she dreamt she would one day get up close and personal to the animals. The dream became reality when the 19-year-old started the year off on a high, beating the boys to become the Zoo's first female tiger handler on New Year's Day. Yesterday, she became a celebrity in her own right, handling her charge, a 13-week-old Sumatran tiger cub Singa, as well the visitors, bureaucrats and the media. The former Caloundra High School student and 1998 winner of a Dolly magazines's Best Friends competition, has steadily advanced her career since arriving at the Zoo.

Tiger Handler LisaFirst, Lisa was promoted to admissions supervisor, then she successfully applied for the tiger handler vacancy.

Lisa loves the interaction with the animals and the fact she is working on the conservation side and is learning something new every day. “They mean a lot to me though they are quite fiery, bity and agile. I'm an animal lover so I love being around the animals and feel happy and relaxed. It's just a lot of fun," Lisa said. Sometimes she works 50 to 60 hours a week when the animals require extra care and attention. She said that was okay, though, because the Zoo offered flexibility with its working times under the company's Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).

Steve Irwin and his wife Terri have been officially recognised as AWA ambassadors by the Office of Employment Advocate for their use of individual contracts among employees.

The Zoo has grown from 50 to 450 staff within two years and chose AWA's for their simplicity and fairness. They have been recognized with many awards including the 2002 and 2003 Queensland Tourism Award and the 2003-2004 Australian Tourism Award for major tourist attraction.

Human Resources Manager Sandy Whitehead said AWA's helped form a more effective working relationship between management and staff. “We went from multiple awards down to one AWA for everyone in our team,” Ms Whitehead said. “Instead of dealing with different penalty rates for public holidays and weekends, we pay a higher rate all year round.” And does our tiger tamer have any thoughts of swapping cats for the catwalk? “Yes, but I wouldn't leave working with the tigers. Modelling would only be on the side for a bit of fun. “As for my dream job that's a good question. I suppose I'm living my dream job now,” Lisa said.

Don't miss this tiger tale

Don't Miss this Tiger Tale

Movie preview to help endangered tiger species of the world
News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily, page 23, Saturday 20th November, 2004

If you're looking for ways to help stop the extinction of tigers make sure you don't miss the preview of Two Brothers today at 10am at Birch Carroll and Coyle Sunshine Plaza.

It's the story of two tiger cubs separated from their family in the jungle and brought up to be fighters and killers, and stars Guy Pearce as the adventurer who learns killing is not the way of the future.

All tickets are just $7 and the money will be donated directly to the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation where all funds raised go directly to help the tiger of the world.

If you can't make the movie, the Australia Zoo tiger handlers have recommended some simple ways we can all help to reduce the environmental impact we are having:

  1. Don't buy products made from or containing endangered species – traditional Chinese medicines, souvenirs and lucky charms. While there is a demand for these products, animals will continue to be slaughtered.
  2. Don't buy products made from hardwood timber such as teak and mahogany. This hardwood comes from virgin forests that are not logged in a sustainable manner and are the homes to many of the world's endangered species. Even the brand of office paper you use in your computer at home may affect these forests.
  3. Invest your money wisely. Many of today's financial institutes invest in unethical programs, both against the environment and human rights using your money to do so.
  4. Buy fair trade products – make sure that the product you are buying is not supporting the abuse of people in developing countries. Poverty and environmental degradation often do hand in hand.