Kirana - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Tigris Sumatrae/Sumatran TigerCritically Endangered

Interesting facts about Kirana

  • The name Kirana is of Indonesian origin and means beautiful sunbeam.
  • Kirana arrived at The Big Cat Sanctuary in January 2022, she retired to the Sanctuary from Chester Zoo
  • She was born on 8th May 2006
  • This tigress has had three litters of cubs and proved to be a wonderful mother every time
  • Kirana is a very vocal tiger who regularly approaches the fence to have a chat with team members and guests
  • Kirana has the most stunning markings and the most beautiful face, she is literally a perfect face for the Sumatran tiger with amazing colouring and a fabulous ruff around her face

Kirana's story

Kirana was 15 years old when she arrived at The Big Cat Sanctuary from Chester Zoo in January 2022. A decision was taken to move her to the peace and tranquillity of the Sanctuary for her benefit but also to give enclosure space at Chester to accommodate the residents there. We work with our fellow zoos to give the best possible welfare for the animals in our care.

She has been a very important member of the accredited cor-ordinated breeding programmes for Sumatran tigers, by contributing the the genetics three times. Kirana successfully produced cubs in 2011, 2013 and 2015. She has played a vital part in the protection of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger species and will be living out her retirement years at The Big Cat Sanctuary.

The name Kirana is of Indonesian origin and means beautiful sunbeam, a fitting name for such a stunning tiger. She is known to enjoy pole-feeds during her time at Chester Zoo which the keeping team at the Sanctuary will continue to provide for her.

This beautiful cat has of course found a favourite spot to relax in, she is often seen watching the world go by in the shade of her shelter.

All cats are given plenty of time to settle in after their arrival, this happens at very different rates. Kirana loves a hand feed so her love of  chicken drums helped her to gain confidence in the team. This continued to grow and she is now a very vocal cat who is seen by lots who visit.

About Sumatran tigers

They have a very characteristic dark orange coat, with very thin, closely packed stripes. As with all tiger species, these stripes are as unique to each individual, as our finger prints are to us. Around the face is a long white ruff of fur, more often seen in males than females. As their name suggests, the Sumatran tiger’s native habitat is the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Historically there were three tiger sub-species that made up a grouping of ‘Sunda Island’ tigers. Two of these; the Javan and Bali, have since been classed as extinct. This leaves the Sumatran tiger as the only surviving island sub-species, all others being mainland animals.

They alter their behaviour and hunting in accordance with the type of area they live in. Preferring non-cultivated forests, they take preference over areas with high elevation, dense undercover and close to a water source. Areas that are highly farmed and have a high human influence are naturally avoided by the tigers, such as palm oil or acacia plantations.

There have been nine prey species recorded which are often favoured by the tiger population, the largest of these being the Malayan tapir. The Sumatran tiger is an apex predator, so the steady decline in their numbers may eventually have a detrimental effect on prey populations also.

Education is key

The main threat to the wild Sumatran tiger population is the increasing palm oil trade. The tigers need continual blocks of forest in which to thrive, as being a solitary species this is their only way of meeting breeding individuals. The traditional medicine trade is another problem that faces the wild population, with the demand for bones and body parts showing no signs of slowing down.

Education is now the key to halting this trade and younger generations are now being taught to appreciate the tiger and that a lot of their traditional medicine is actually of no medicinal value at all. Several surveys have been carried out, and it seems unlikely there will ever be sufficient, sustainable habitat to release captive Sumatran tigers back into the wild.

Cat Care Gifts for Kirana

IUCN Red List Category Critically Endangered(CR)

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