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Sanjiv is the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's newest Sumatran tiger. (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium)

Meet Sanjiv, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's new Sumatran tiger

A new tiger is in Tacoma.

Sanjiv (pronounced sun-jeev), an 11-year-old male Sumatran tiger, arrived in Tacoma in December from the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center in Topeka, Kansas. The zoo said the recommendation to move him to Tacoma came from the Association of Zoo and Aquariums with the hope that he will father cubs with either of the zoo's other Sumatran tigers Kali, 9, or Indah, 8.

Sanjiv has bred successfully in the past. The 286-pound tiger fathered four cubs in 2019, the zoo said.

“We’re working hard to protect and boost the population of this critically endangered species, and the genetics of these three tigers are very valuable,” said General Curator Dr. Karen Goodrowe Beck.

There are currently 72 Sumatran tigers living in accredited North American zoos. The species is considered critically endangered with only about 400 to 500 remaining on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The tigers are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, black-market poaching, conflict with humans, and loss of prey.

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Assistant Curator Erin Pritchard said Sanjiv is adjusting well to his new home.

“He is a very social and expressive tiger who loves to interact with his keepers and our two female tigers,” said Pritchard. “He’s always chuffing and vocalizing, and he’s fascinated with the swinging gibbons and other species that share his Asian Forest Sanctuary home.”

Sanjiv is making his public debut on Friday. Guests can meet him at the Asian Forest Sanctuary, which includes Asian elephants, gibbons, Asian small-clawed otters, and several other animals.

For more information, visit the zoo's website.