Topeka Zoo Introduces New Tiger, Jingga

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From the City of Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. – What does 163 pounds of zoo love look like? In this case, it looks like Jingga (pronounced like Ginger without the r) a new Sumatran tiger at the Topeka Zoo.

Jingga, who will turn three years old in March, was sent to the Topeka Zoo to breed, as part of a population management plan. Experts say there are fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild. “This is an incredible conservation program for us to be involved in,” Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said.

Jingga arrived at the zoo about six months ago. Over that period, Jingga and Rojo (the zoo’s six year old male tiger) have been getting to know each other through auditory, olfactory, and visual introductions. “When introducing tigers to each other, you have to take it slow and let them dictate the pace,” Wiley said. Last week, it was time for them to go on their first date.

“Their introduction is going well,” Kristyn Hayden-Ortega, Jingga’s primary zookeeper, said. “About the only times we are seeing issues now is when she bites his tail.” Bites his tail? Do tigers actually flirt?

Was it love at first sight? Only the tigers know that for sure. What zoo staff members know is that the relationship is progressing well. “While we aren’t expecting cubs yet, we are hopeful that they aren’t too far off in the future,” Hayden-Ortega said.

Jingga was born at the Sacramento Zoo. Rojo was born at the San Diego Zoo and came to Topeka in 2009.

Jingga as a cub with her mother
Jingga and Rojo