Auckland Zoo has announced that their Sumatran female tiger, Zayana, is six weeks pregnant, marking only the second time in the zoo’s history that there has been a breeding pair of tigers. Zayana, a four-year-old tiger from Topeka Zoo and Conservation Centre in Kansas, arrived at Auckland Zoo in November 2022, along with Ramah, a five-year-old male tiger from Oklahoma City Zoo.
The zookeepers suspected Zayana’s pregnancy after observing two mating introductions with Ramah in May. A recent ultrasound confirmed the pregnancy. The zookeepers had planned and monitored the introductions carefully, and Zayana and Ramah showed clear signs of wanting to be together during the mating period.
Despite the excitement of the pregnancy, the zookeepers are also cautious about the challenges of birth, as Zayana is a first-time mother. Research has shown that litter sizes can carry risks, and the team will be supporting her throughout her pregnancy to ensure the best possible outcome.
Zayana has become more relaxed and spends more time sleeping and resting. She has a strong bond with her carers and is described as being exceptionally chilled and chatty towards them.
Zayana’s gestation period is around 100-108 days, and she is currently about halfway through her pregnancy. The tiger is expected to give birth in September, and visitors to the zoo will likely be able to see her cub(s) in the South East Asia Jungle Track’s lowlands habitat closer to Christmas.