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Minnesota Zoo gets new male Amur tiger after March death of ‘Putin’

Amur tigers, historically known as Siberian tigers, are native to the Russian Far East and neighboring areas of China. The name change reflects a portion of its current wild habitat range along the Amur River, according to the Minnesota Zoo. The Amur tiger is an endangered species, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild.

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The Minnesota Zoo recently welcomed Luka, a 16-month-old male Amur tiger, from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio.
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ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Zoo is welcoming a new Amur tiger following the untimely death last month of one of its endangered wildcats.

On Wednesday, April 13, the Apple Valley zoo said it had acquired Luka, a 16-month-old male Amur tiger, from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio.

The Minnesota Zoo said that it had received a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Tiger Species Survival Plan to receive Luka following the March 23 death of Putin during a routine medical procedure. The 12-year-old male Amur tiger experienced cardiac failure, the zoo said.

Amur tigers, historically known as Siberian tigers, are native to the Russian Far East and neighboring areas of China. The name change reflects a portion of its current wild habitat range along the Amur River, according to the Minnesota Zoo. The Amur tiger is an endangered species, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild. There are approximately 103 of these tigers in accredited zoos.

Since arriving, Luka has been spending time in a behind-the-scenes habitat adjusting to his new environment and care team. Luka will be introduced to his public habitat this week and should be more and more visible to guests in the coming days.

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“While this opportunity came about quicker than anticipated, it’s one that will benefit Luka, who was at an age where he was ready to separate from his mother, and one that will support the Zoo’s dedication to tiger conservation by providing potential future breeding opportunities in the years ahead,” Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley said in a statement.

Putin was born at a zoo in the Czech Republic in 2009, where he was given the name “Putin.” He spent his first six years at a zoo in Denmark before coming to the Minnesota Zoo in 2015.

“His genetically important legacy lives on as he has sired multiple cubs, including one born in 2017 at the Minnesota Zoo,” the institution said after his death.

Over the course of its 43-year history, the Minnesota Zoo has birthed more than 40 cubs and, alongside the Phoenix Zoo, co-leads the Tiger Conservation Campaign, which has raised millions of dollars for tiger conservation.

Related Topics: SCIENCE AND NATURE
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