The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has welcomed the arrival of an endangered male Amur tiger at Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore.

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity say they hope the park’s current female Dominika and the new arrival Botzman will hopefully breed in the future.

Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager at Highland Wildlife Park, said, “We are very excited to welcome Botzman into our care and for visitors to meet him soon.”

“For the first few weeks, he’ll be kept in a private area while he settles in and then we will slowly begin introductions with Dominika.”

Nine-year-old Botzman was born in Moscow and has spent the last eight years at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo where he recently fathered three cubs, born in 2018.

Graeme Williamson, team leader of predators at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, said, “Botzman is a handsome, confident cat who is known for his incredible ability to jump high up into trees to pull down his dinner. He fathered his first litter of cubs in 2018, when he proved himself to be a playful but patient father, teaching his cubs how to climb and swim.

“He will be missed by both zookeepers and visitors at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo but his move to Highland Wildlife Park is a vital part of the European breeding programme for the species.

“With just 500 endangered Amur tigers remaining in the wild, it’s important that tigers like Botzman are given the opportunity to father cubs with other mates, ensuring genetic diversity in the programme and ultimately safeguarding the future of the species.”

Keith added, “Amur tigers are endangered in the wild and any cubs Botzman and Dominika raise could represent a potentially important contribution to the future of the species, which is at risk of extinction due to extensive habitat loss and poaching.”

It will be a while before visitors are able to catch a glimpse of the new arrival as he settles into his new home.

A special thank you to Scotbark who donated bark to Highland Wildlife Park for the new tiger enclosure.

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