Zoo tiger being watched for possible birth

Submitted Photo Zoya, the female Amur tiger at Roosevelt Park Zoo shown in this photo from the zoo, is believed to be pregnant and could give birth any day.

Visitors to Minot’s Roosevelt Park Zoo who venture out with the warmer weather may wonder why only the zoo’s male Amur tiger, Viktor, is outside enjoying the welcomed warm-up. Rest assured, Zoya is fine and can still be viewed through the windows in their day room.

Currently, zoo staff is keeping a close eye on Zoya, the female Amur tiger, in hopes that she is pregnant and due to give birth soon. Presently, they do not currently have the ability to confirm the pregnancy other than noting behavior changes of both tigers.

According to zoo officials, this all began when the zoo received a breeding recommendation from the Amur Tiger Species Survival Program (SSP), a volunteer group of zoo professionals who monitor captive tiger populations and act as a resource to zoos that house the species. With the breeding recommendation, the staff caring for the tigers worked with the SSP coordinator and others to develop a plan that included everything from introducing the pair through birth and rearing of the cubs. The plan developed took into consideration any and all issues that could occur at each stage. Working with a small group within the zoo, the plan was reviewed and refined, members were given assignments for the different aspects of actions to be taken based on what was occurring with the cats.

Zoo officials said supervised introductions between Zoya and Viktor began in late November, based on behavioral cues the cats presented, over a period of several days until behaviors changed. Following that first interval of introductions, the cats did not present those behaviors again, as would have been expected, leading staff to assume that Zoya was bred during their first introduction. Based on the time the two spent together and a gestation period of around 104 days, staff is preparing for her to give birth anytime now.

Zoya is 4 years old and was born at the Philadelphia Zoo on July 10, 2017. She was transferred to Roosevelt Park Zoo on Aug. 19, 2019, as part of an Amur tiger SSP recommendation.

Viktor is 10 years old and was born at the Toledo Zoological Garden on Sept. 26, 2011. He was transferred to Roosevelt Park Zoo on Nov. 20, 2013.

Because this would be Zoya’s first pregnancy and her first-time giving birth, staff is taking all possible precautions as there are always risks associated with any animal that is giving birth for the first time. Currently, she is being maintained off exhibit and, along with her normal care by the keeper staff, she is monitored around the clock via camera system to allow her as much privacy as possible.


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