A critically endangered female Sumatran tiger has been killed at a zoo by a male that was introduced as a prospective mate.
London Zoo in the UK said it was “heartbroken” that 10-year-old Melati had been killed by new arrival Asim, 7, just moments after the two met.
Asim – who was brought to the zoo from Denmark to breed with Melati – had been getting to know the tigress over the last few days, but was kept from meeting her face-to-face.
Meet our latest arrival, Asim ❤️ Seven-year-old Asim, whose name means ‘Protector’ in Arabic, has moved from @reeparksafari in Denmark as a new mate for Melati. He’s been busy exploring his territory - we’ve spotted him lounging on his heated rocks and even dipping his paws in his new swimming pool. We hope you'll be able to visit him soon! #ZooLife #tiger #Sumatrantiger #animals #bigcats #animalphotography #animalsofinstagram #catsofinstagram #ZSLLondonZoo #LondonZoo #London
All signs seemed positive, London Zoo explained in a statement, but when the two encountered one another in the flesh on Friday, things quickly turned violent.
“Zoo staff immediately implemented their prepared response, using loud noises, flares and alarms to try and distract the pair, but Asim had already overpowered Melati,” the zoo explained.
When they finally got Asim away, Melati was dead.
The zoo said it would now focus on caring for Asim.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are fewer than 400 of the tigers alive today.