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Critically endangered Sumatran tiger finds new home at Busch Gardens

The male tiger named Bandar is the first and only Sumatran tiger at Busch Gardens.
Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens becomes new home to Sumatran tiger, Bandar, as part of the AZA Species Survival Program.

TAMPA, Fla. — Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced the arrival of a new resident to the 335-acre animal theme park, a critically endangered Sumatran tiger.

Bandar, the male tiger, is the first and only Sumatran tiger at Busch Gardens. He was transferred from the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. Bandar, the 9-year-old tiger, joins Rukayah and Zahra, a Malayan Bengal tiger, in the Jungala realm of the park, Busch Gardens says. 

Guests will experience an up-close look at the animals in Busch Gardens' Tiger Inside Tour, learn about the care staff put in and gain a deeper perspective of the care that goes into protecting these tigers.

"Watching Bandar settle into his new home is exciting and inspiring," Jenny Mendoza, vice president- zoological for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, said in a statement. "We are very thrilled to provide him with a home for him to thrive, share his story with our guests, and have our zoological facilities serve as a building block for the prosperous future of all tigers."

Bandar joins Busch Gardens' diverse group of more than 200 animal species, the park says. He's part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan that manages endangered species in accredited zoological facilities to protect them from extinction. 

Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered and less than 400 tigers are estimated to be in the wild due to poaching, habitat loss and human conflict. 

According to WildCats Conservation Alliance, the Sumatran tiger is the smallest and darkest tiger subspecies. They also have the most narrow black stripes of any tiger species, ZSL London Zoo says.

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