MEET the Ballarat Wildlife Park's newest resident — Maneki the Sumatran tiger.
Maneki arrived from Queensland's Australia Zoo just before Christmas. She will be joined at the park by a male Sumatran tiger in late January.
Found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, it is estimated less than 500 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. This figure is rapidly decreasing due to the clearing of natural habitat for farming and palm oil plantations, as well as the poaching of tigers for sale on the black market.
Maneki and her male friend are part of a global species management plan and will be ambassadors for helping their cousins survive in the wild through education programs and the promotion of conservation initiatives such as the Tiger Protection Conservation Unit. The TPCU is a group of rangers on the frontline in Sumatra, disabling snares, following leads, solving tiger-human conflict and providing evidence for legal proceedings.
The Ballarat Wildlife Park's new Tiger Sanctuary conservation display has been designed to ensure a stress-free environment for its new inhabitants. Double the size of a standard tiger enclosure, it features swimming pools, climbing poles, shady areas and heated dens. The enclosure also includes state-of-the-art security to ensure the tigers and the community are kept safe.
“Maneki travelled well from Australia Zoo, accompanied by our assistant curator Beth Astles," said the park's tiger keeper and operations manager Robbie Doyle. "We’ve really taken our time and care to make sure everything was perfect before her arrival."
“Since arriving, Maneki has been enjoying her new surroundings with plenty to explore and she’s had a big appetite. Her carers from Australia Zoo have also been in Ballarat to help her settle in.”
“This is a major coup for tourism in Ballarat. There’s not a lot of places where one can see these amazing creatures.”