Turner says the zoo team was “very happy” about all the new additions. “It’s always exciting to welcome new residents. Having Scout here is special for me because I was involved in raising him... He recognises me and is very affectionate: He rubs his face against the fence [when he sees me] and chuffs at me,” Turner says.
A chuff is a friendly greeting call made by tigers and other big felines, professionally known as prusten.
Kirana is the daughter of Hamilton Zoo resident female Sali. Scout is already exploring the enclosures and zoo visitors have a chance to see him.
“Tigers are solitary animals, so they usually don’t live together [in an enclosure]. At Hamilton Zoo we have two enclosures and three tigers, so we rotate them around.”
Once Kirana is in oestrus, meaning in heat, she will share an enclosure with Scout for a week or so, before they will be separated again.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with less than 400 remaining in the wild, so zoos play a crucial part in the conservation efforts of the species.
Meanwhile, red panda Sang, who is now on display at the Hamilton Zoo, has come all the way from Perth Zoo.
“We wanted another red panda and an enclosure mate for Jamuna for quite some time. We don’t plan to breed the two, because Jamuna’s bloodline is well-represented here - her parents bred a lot. We want to get another female in for Sang, but there is no timeframe yet,” Turner says.
To prevent Jamuna and Sang from breeding, Jamuna has received a contraceptive implant, but Turner says she is “still a bit unsure” about Sang at the moment anyway.
Siamang gibbon Peggy is 34 years old and has also come from Orana Wildlife Park.
“We currently have a lone male, Itam, who is related to Peggy,” Turner says.
Peggy and Itam were both part of different breeding programmes, but are retired now. Itam was paired with Iuri who passed away in 2018, so the zoo wanted to get Peggy to keep Itam company.
“Now we have two pairs [of Siamang gibbons] again. They sing a lot, it’s an incredible, happy sound, so it’s exciting to hear that.”