A Sumatran tiger was mauled by another of her species when the two were introduced in the hopes of them mating. The death of the rare female tiger happened at the California Sacramento Zoo.
A Sumatran tiger was mauled at the California Sacramento Zoo after the male she was introduced to turned aggressive and viciously attacked her in a failed mating attempt. The female tiger, named Baha, died after being attacked during the very first meeting with the two animals, reported CNN.
The male Sumatran tiger, Mohan, was specially brought in from the Memphis Zoo. Zoo officials at the Sacramento Zoo were hopeful that Mohan would mate with Baha and aid in contributing to the survival of the Sumatran tiger species, which is fast going extinct. Mohan has been tasked with mating with other female Sumatran tigers in the past, and he has been quite compliant. This is apparently the first instance where he suddenly became very aggressive and attacked his prospective mate. On the other hand, Baha too is accustomed to such mating rituals. She has engaged with males brought in from other zoos in the past and has successfully birthed multiple healthy cubs.
Zoo officials claim they had been closely monitoring both the tigers separately since December. The entire process leading up to Mohan entering Baha’s enclosure went without a hitch. Incidentally, as with all such rituals, the tigers first make eye contact, acknowledging each other’s presence, which happened too. However, zoo officials lament that the eye contact may not have happened for the right reasons, reported DB Techno. The zoo released an official statement foolwing the mauling of the Sumatran tiger that read:
“The Sacramento Zoo is saddened to announce that Baha, a 15-year-old female Sumatran Tiger, died on Wednesday morning due to trauma received from a male tiger. The Zoo’s male tiger, Mohan, became aggressive with Baha during a physical introduction on the morning of February 10.”
The attack was sudden and seemingly unprovoked. Zoo officials who were monitoring the enclosure, quickly rushed to the aide of Baha, but it was too late, continued the statement:
“Staff, who had been monitoring the introduction from the outside of the enclosure, quickly sprang into action to separate the two tigers. As soon as staff were able to get the male tiger into a secure location veterinarians rushed to care for Baha, but unfortunately she had already passed, veterinary staff tried to resuscitate her but were unsuccessful. Baha has been at the Sacramento Zoo since 2002 and has five living offspring from three previous successful breeding introductions that are at other Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) accredited zoos.”
Zoo veterinarians shared that the two Sumatran tigers had been living in close proximity to each other since December and showed all signs of acceptance. The pre-mating rituals such as sniffing each other, positive vocalizations, and indulging in engaging behavior were displayed, positively indicating the two were ready to mate. However, on the fateful day when Mohan was allowed into Baha’s cage, the male attacked her with alarming alacrity, which took the zoo officials completely by surprise.
Despite being armed with multiple tools and techniques to separate the tigers in case of such emergencies, the attack was swift. Though the officials did manage to force Mohan into an isolated area fairly quickly, it was too late for poor Baha, who died in the attack. Zoo officials later confirmed from the time Mohan began attacking Baha to the time he was secured inside another area, a mere six to seven minutes had passed. The attack began within the first two minutes of the Sumatran tigers meeting.
The Sacramento Zoo officials shared their sadness about losing one of the best female Sumatran tigers, one who had not only been an attentive mother, but also a “wonderful ambassador,” reported News Oxy.
[Photo by Karen Bleier / Getty Images]