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Zoo greets 2 new lionesses, 3 tigers

By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

Lions and tigers, no bears, but oh my! 

The Emperor Valley Zoo welcomed two new African lionesses and three Bengal tigers yesterday.

The newest arrivals touched down at Piarco International Airport at about 6 p.m., travelling via police escort to the zoo.

Making their debut are a white 15-month-old male Bengal Tiger and two six-month-old females, one white and one yellow. 

The two lionesses, one of which is a rare white lioness, are also six months old. The creatures will be officially on display today. 

The animals have been purchased from the Bescer Birds and Animal Zoo Park in Pretoria, South Africa. They cost US$75,000, excluding transportation and other fees.

They will be housed in temporary enclosures until the Asia and Africa exhibits, currently under construction, are completed.

“The zoo is naturally very excited to have these new additions,” curator Nirmal Biptah said. 

Over the last year or so the zoo has been expanding its collection.

Last January, the zoo welcomed three lion brothers sourced thorough an animal exchange programme from a zoo in Texas — Mufasa, Scar, and Kovu — named after characters from the animated film, The Lion King. 

Khatuma the giant otter also came in January last year, to join long-time resident Susie, in the hope of producing a successful breeding programme.

Last December two juvenile male giraffes named Melman and Mandela arrived. As the first such attractions in the region, the pair immediately became very popular among patrons.

The zoo is hopeful the lionesses and the tigers can also become part of a successful breeding programme.

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