Puna - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Tigris Sumatrae/Sumatran TigerCritically Endangered

Interesting facts about Puna

  • Puna was born in June 2004 in a zoo in Germany and arrived at the Sanctuary in June of 2005 again just one year old.
  • She was recommended to breed as part of the co-ordinated breeding programme and went on to be the perfect mother!
  • She immediately hit it off with her breeding partner Nias and they quickly went on to have two boy cubs in 2008
  • The couple went on to have another litter of two boys in 2011, once again - she proved to be an outstanding mum
  • Our beautiful lady is stunningly beautiful and loves hand feeds!
  • This tigress can be the sweetest natured, she isn't fond of tall men, high-viz or hats and she isn't too shy to show it!

Puna's story

Puna was born in a litter of two at Tiergarten Heidelberg Zoo to first time mother, Julieta who did not adapt to being a mother so well. She did allow Puna to feed for the first five days, the cub was mostly seen laying alone in the den. It was when Puna’s eyes opened at 5 days she took herself out of  the den and into an area where she fell through the bars directly into the visitors area.

She was found by keeping staff the following morning. Remarkably she was alive and well, just cold. It was decided the best chance of survival for this little fighter was to be bottle-fed. After a very short time she was put in the enclosure next to her father’s to allow them to bond. Puna spent time with a dog as company in her early days, she grew into a healthy, stunning tigress.

She was a fantastic mum in 2008 when she had her first litter of two boys with breeding partner Nias, and again in 2011. She is now a grandmother, she is now enjoying life in the slow lane after being such an incredible ambassador for her species. We couldn’t be prouder of this amazing big cat!

About Sumatran tigers

Sumatran tigers are the smallest tiger subspecies, they are critically endangered. 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.  Around the face is a long white ruff of fur, more often seen in males than females.  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.

The Sumatran tiger is an apex predator, so the steady decline in their numbers may eventually have a detrimental effect on prey populations also.

About Sumatran tigers

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 partners.

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.

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 unless we see drastic change.

IUCN Red List Category Critically Endangered(CR)

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