TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka Zoo is hoping to get into the baby business with a new animal joining the zoo family in late July, a female tiger, named Jinga.
A two-and-a-half-year-old Sumatran Tiger from the Sacramento Zoo will have a home in Topeka. Zoo officials say introducing her to 3-year-old male tiger, Rojo, will be a careful, critical process, but they say they're confident Jinga will be Rojo's breeding match.
The addition comes at the same time another animal is celebrating a milestone, and ahead of moves to secure the zoo's accreditation.
Wednesday (7/11) is Hope the giraffe's 2nd birthday. Hope was born with hyper-extended fetlock joints. Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says Hope's specialized treatment brought zoo staff together for a common purpose. Wiley also says they've made countless improvements to the zoo in her lifetime, but next week an accreditation team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will determine if the Topeka Zoo had made enough progress, soon enough.
As the zoo strives to renew accreditation, at stake is their aging population of elephants. The AZA requires zoos to have at least three of the same species. Meaning without more space for another animal, the two the zoo has now, who are of different species, could go.
"What I may hope is not as important as what is best for these two animals and this community as a whole," Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said.
Zoo officials have yet to construct an ape and large carnivore quarantine, that's an AZA requirement. The project is written into the 2012 Capital Improvement Plan, and Wiley says project funding could come before the Topeka City Council for approval in August or September.
An accreditation team will arrive Sunday, and spend three days at the zoo.