LONDON – The London Zoo kept his newly arrived male Sumatran tiger Asim in a separate enclosure of Melati, the female tigress, who became his mate for ten days.
Zoologists gave them time to get used to the presence and smells of others, waiting for it to be the right time to get them together. On Friday they put the two tigers in the same enclosure – and Asim killed Melati when shocked farm workers tried in vain to intervene.
It was a tragic end to the hope that the two would eventually breed as part of a Europe-wide tiger conservation program for the endangered Sumatran subspecies.
"Everyone here at ZSL London Zoo has been devastated by the loss of Melati and we are affected by this turn of events," the zoo said in a statement.
The focus has now been "to look after Asim as we go through this difficult event."
The zoo said its experts had watched Tiger's reactions to each other closely since the arrival of Asim ten days ago and had seen "positive signs" indicating the attacks two should be put together.
"Their introduction started as predicted, but quickly became a more aggressive interaction," said the zoo.
Contingency plans required handlers to use loud noises, torches and alarms to distract the tigers, but that did not work. They managed to place Asim, 7, in a separate paddock, but by that time Melati, 1
The arrival of Asim at the zoo last week had been betrayed in a press release that exposed him The search for and screen showed
The organization Tiger in Crisis says that there are only about 500 to 600 Sumatran tigers in the wild.