Yuri, a 435-lb. Amur tiger is new at the Denver Zoo. (Denver Zoo)
DENVER, CO – Denver Zoo is inviting residents to meet their newest animal celebrity. Yuri, a 435 lb. Amur tiger, arrived in late January from the Bronx Zoo at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, and has spent the last several weeks getting comfortable in his new home, the zoo said.
Yuri has already made his TV debut, previously appearing on Animal Planet’s The Zoo.
Yuri hasn’t sired any cubs yet, and that’s why the zoo said his genetics are "particularly valuable to zoos’ collective efforts to save the species and maintain a healthy, genetically-diverse population of Amur tigers."
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Amur tigers as "Endangered," because poachers have killed so many tigers, as well as the prey species they feed on, the zoo said.
You can see Yuri and Nikita– the female tiger the zoo hopes will mate with Yuri– at the zoo’s new new EDGE exhibit. Visitors can identify Yuri by the heart-shaped markings above his eyes and his size—he’s close to double Nikita’s weight.
Janee Zakoren, assistant curator of carnivores, said in a press release that the zoo is waiting for Yuri to adjust to his habitat before"making the big introduction" to Nikita.
"The two tigers can already see each other from various points in the exhibit, and Nikita is showing signs that she’s ready to meet her new mate," said Zakoren. "You can hear them ‘talking’ to each other most afternoons. She is definitely excited by his presence."
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