Mountain of Rebuilding Tiger Mountain, a new exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, hopes to educate while regenerating.
Beneath the pressing foot of Natural Selection, the number Siberian tigers, ‘one of eight subspecies’ of tigers, all of which are endangered, has dwindled to a worldwide estimate of between 200 and 400. Though they remain the most recognizable figures of global wildlife, conditions have chipped away at this regal breed of feline, and the Bronx Zoo in New York has decided to do something about it.
In conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Bronx Zoo is launching Tiger Mountain, a year-round, expansive, groundbreaking habitat and immersion exhibit that will work to both educate zoo-goers and foster the welfare of the Siberian tiger population.
The exhibit, a 4,000 square foot recreation of a natural habitat, houses eight tigers and focuses on placing them in scenarios similar to their original environments. For this reason there flows a 10,000-gallon, rockwork-lined pool (Siberians are swimmers) as well as two natural streams that weave in between thick tufts of green forest.
To further facilitate the tigers’ comfort, the zoo has set up various apparatuses that mimic the experience of hunting and catching prey. The “spring pull” is a spring-loaded device attached to a launched ball that allows the tigers to chase down and wrestle it, as they would prey. Not only does it exercise the tigers, but it also gives the watching audience a chance to view the tigers in action.
The habitat has also installed many interactive facets to Tiger Mountain, including a “rope pull” where visitors can engage in a safe game of tug of war with the tigers. Others include an underwater, glass viewing area for the pool and various theater experiences, and technological trinkets that educate visitors both on the tigers’ history and the advantages of their captivated environment. Also included in the exhibit is a wide selection of information about wildlife conservation (tigers live to an average of 20 years in proper captivity, as opposed to 10 to 15 in nature).
To contact the Bronx Zoo, call 718.220.2685. For more information about the state of the Siberian Tiger and conservation attempts, visit the WCS at www.wcs.org.