Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

'Lovely little cat' makes debut

Hamilton's new star, Sumatran tigress Sali, weighs 80kg. She has been brought in as part of the Australasian breeding programme. Photo / Christine Cornege
Hamilton's new star, Sumatran tigress Sali, weighs 80kg. She has been brought in as part of the Australasian breeding programme. Photo / Christine Cornege

Hamilton Zoo's latest star attraction had a bit of stage fright yesterday as she settled into her new home.

Four-year-old Sumatran tigress Sali arrived from Queensland's Dreamworld on Monday night and took to her new abode well, surprising zoo staff by eating immediately and gnawing on her wooden bed and blanket.

However, when the cameras started flashing yesterday the tiger, who is in quarantine for a week, retreated and appeared nervous.

Hamilton Zoo director Stephen Standley said despite being hand-reared, Dreamworld had warned she was its most nervous tiger. "But she's a lovely looking little cat."

Sali will make her first public appearance next week. She arrived at the zoo as part of the Australasian breeding programme and was expected to start reproducing next year.

Sali joins resident tigers 12-year-olds Mencari and Jaka. However, Jaka is to be swapped with another male tiger at the end of the year who is a better match with Sali for breeding.

NEW ARRIVAL
* Sali the Sumatran tigress
* Weighs 80kg.
* Should breed next year.
* Three or four litters expected.

- NZ Herald

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