New big cat makes his debut at Philadelphia Zoo

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A new cool cat has just arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo. (WPVI)

A new cool cat has just arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The male Amur tiger is now on view and zookeepers hope to breed him with one of 2 females down the road.

8-year-old Grom surveyed his new space at Big Cat Falls on Friday. He seemed to appreciate the detail of his welcome sign as he took a leisurely stroll around the yard.

Grom was born at the Pittsburgh Zoo, lived in Denver for most of his life and arrived here a few weeks ago. This was his Philadelphia Zoo debut.

"He looks curious about the area right about now," said Thoeun Lorn from South Philadelphia.

"His teeth looked very pointy," said 8-year-old, Tymir Holland.

Grom is a 300 pound Amur tiger and his teeth are indeed pointy.

Amur Tigers have the palest coat of all the subspecies and also have the longest fur. His wide paws would help the cold-weather cat stay on top of the snow.

Big Cat keeper Jennifer Robertson explains the number of his species is dwindling and their biggest threats are poachers and illegal deforestation.

"These guys are really rare in the wild. There's only 540 left in the wild," she said.

Grom was brought here as part of the Species Survival Plan in hopes he would breed.

"What that's about is making sure to maintain genetic and demographic diversity and stability over the long term," said Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo COO.

Each year the tiger population at zoos across the country is tracked and a determination is made on which individuals are highest priorities to breed. Turns out, Grom could be a great match for one of the two girls who live here and this will be closely monitored.

These tigers are solitary in the wild and only come together to breed.

"On the initial introductions, we often have mesh between each other so we can gauge their behavior before we actually put them in the same space," said Baker.

There are now five tigers at the zoo in all, but they could make room for more.

Grom is still getting used to his surroundings and if you want to see him this weekend, the best time to come is before noon.

After that, check for future dates.
Related Topics:
petsphiladelphia zooanimal newsanimalphilly newsWest Philadelphia
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