Zoo Watch: Tiger couple go on Easter egg hunt at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Botsman (left) and Naya (right).

Botsman (left) and Naya (right). - Credit: Archant

A pair of tigers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo went on a giant Easter egg hunt for their first date.

Naya and Botsman with the egg.

Naya and Botsman with the egg. - Credit: Archant

Keepers at the zoo decided to create a special Easter egg hunt for Naya, a seven-year-old female Amur tiger, after she moved to Whipsnade from a feline conservation centre in France.

She was joined by Botsman, an 180kg (28 stone) male tiger, with the egg hunt acting as one of their first dates.

Botsman.

Botsman. - Credit: Archant

A huge, colourful egg was made from papier-mâché, brushed with scents including blood and catnip, and then hidden inside the tigers’ large enclosure for them to find, enhancing their skills of curiosity, exploration and stealth.

Team leader Donovan Glyn said: “We wanted to create an activity for Naya that would engage her natural instincts to hunt for and investigate something, in order to help her feel immediately at home here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Botsman.

Botsman. - Credit: Archant


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“Once we dreamt up the Easter egg hunt, we realised this would also be an excellent way for Naya and Botsman to get to know one another better.

“So far, Naya and Botsman have been getting on extremely well, in fact, they are almost inseparable.

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

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“We’re all thrilled that romance seems to be in the air this spring, and have high hopes for these two as part of the conservation breeding programme.”

Naya has moved to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Amur tigers. Amur tigers are classified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of endangered species.

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

As well as managing the EEP for Amur tigers, ZSL works with tiger conservation in the Russian far east through population monitoring, anti-poaching work, education outreach and wildlife health.

Donovan Glyn added: “Amur tigers have highly adapted skills when it comes to hunting, and use their striped markings, as well as their super-stealth capabilities to get close to their prey without being noticed.

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

“Our visitors will be able to see how their own super-skills compare to that of Naya and Botsman, as part of the Superpowers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo family activities this Easter.”

Children will be able to go on a Superpowers Trail around the zoo from Friday, March 30 to Sunday, April 15, encountering animals with astonishing abilities.

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

To book online go to www.zsl.org

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya.

Naya. - Credit: Archant

Naya and Botsman with the egg.

Naya and Botsman with the egg. - Credit: Archant

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