RIGA - Riga-born Siberian tiger Klifs Grants, who has become the Riga Zoo’s most popular animal due to his touching life story, is to be transported to his new home this week - the Besancon Zoo in eastern France, reports LETA.
Visitors were able to see the young tiger in his enclosure at the Riga Zoo until Monday, Nov. 26.
The tiger’s story has captivated many in Latvia, becoming the zoo’s most popular animal.
A tragic incident took place soon after Klifs Grants was born, in the summer of 2011, when noises from construction work outside the zoo agitated female tiger Katrina and her three newborn cubs. She began to relocate her cubs on a constant basis for protection because of the noise, with two of them later dying from their injuries. Klifs Grants was rescued in time, with veterinarians working hard to save his life after he fell from an area where Katrina had tried to hide the cubs. Klifs Grants suffered a broken bone in his paw, but went on to recover.
The tiger club later befriended a female dog owned by one of the zookeepers. The two used to romp around the tiger’s enclosure, always surprising visitors.
Tragedy once again befell the zoo in April of this year, when the zoo’s other Siberian tiger, Vasja, who was Kilfs Grants father, died. Vasja, who was born at the Banham Zoo in England in October of 2008, arrived at the Riga Zoo in May of 2010. Vasja underwent surgery on an infected tooth, but did not wake up after being given anesthetics. An autopsy was carried out after the surgery and veterinarians discovered that Vasja had a heart condition. According to records, Vasja’s mother also had a similar heart condition.
Vasja and the Riga Zoo’s female tiger Katrina gave birth to tiger cub Klifs Grants in July of 2011.
Another male tiger will be brought to the Riga Zoo sometime next year to attempt to mate with Katrina, the zoo says.
The Siberian tiger is an endangered species, with only about 500 left in the wild. Taking into account that there are so few Siberian tigers left in the wild, as well as in captivity in zoos around the world, zoos must be careful to avoid inbreeding of tigers, so that their offspring remain healthy.