Progress on our new South East Asia Jungle Track tiger habitat is ramping up. Planting has begun, and the beach and waterfall, pool and surrounding rocky outcrop, is almost complete.

It’s here on a hot sunny day next summer you could be watching a Sumatran tiger doing what it loves – shallow bathing with half its body in water and the other half out – the best way to cool off and sleep at the same time! The pool also has deeper areas to enable a tiger to wade (not swim) as they prefer, and still have its head above water.

As visitors you’ll view this through large 3.5m high floor to ceiling windows in the shared shelter that’s now in the process of getting its roof on. This is where you and a tiger can come face to face, and you might also encounter our Carnivore team keepers doing training sessions with the tigers via the safety of a special training wall. 

Our Carnivore team leader Lauren Booth says the best thing about this new ‘lowlands’ habitat for tigers is the quality of its topographically different spaces “that will enable our tigers to spend time in different areas of their territory – just like they do in the wild”.

“As everyone knows these big cats sleep a lot! But when awake, we’re giving them so many different and stimulating choices – from a lowlands area and two varying ridge areas – one higher and more challenging, the other a simpler and more gentle terrain - perfect for a heavily pregnant female to rest, and later, her tiger cubs to safely find their feet.”

If you check out the map we’ve included in this update, you’ll see there are two tiger ‘overpasses’ that as visitors you’ll walk under via the visitor pathway. To be installed this coming autumn, these enable the keepers to give the tigers options of moving across into the different terrains that also include areas to hide, shelter, or be seen. Significantly, the high overpasses give these apex predators the ability to check out their prey and other wildlife – like neighbouring orangutans and siamangs ranging across their aerial pathways.

The tigers’ inside area is also progressing and excitingly, this week, Lauren and the rest of the Carnivore team will be moving into their new offices inside this building.

“It’s a great Christmas present ahead of tigers arriving later next year!  It features a fantastic kitchen and food preparation area, and in the tigers’ areas – a design that really enhances our ability to manage and do training with them, particularly monitoring their physical health.”

Just ahead of Christmas, we also have more fencing coming down and the lowering of some of our hoardings, so you can see more of our South East Asia Jungle Track in progress over the Christmas and New Year holidays and beyond!