APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — If you're planning a trip to the Minnesota Zoo this spring you might get a chance to spot a new tiger.
The zoo has acquired a 16-month-old male Amur tiger from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Luka arrived in Minnesota last week and is still getting used to his new environment, according to zoo officials.
Last month, the zoo lost a 12-year-old Amur tiger during a routine medical procedure.
The zoo "received a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) to receive Luka following the unfortunate death of our other male Amur tiger last month," according to a news release.
Zoo workers say this week Luka is being introduced to his public habitat and he should be more and more visible in the coming days.
“The Minnesota Zoo has long championed tiger conservation and will continue advocating for this species,” said Dr. Seth Stapleton, Minnesota Zoo Director of Conservation in a statement.
The Amur tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is one of the largest cats in the world. According to the WildCats Conservation Alliance, about 500 wild Amur tigers can be found in far eastern Russia with a smaller number living across the border in China and possibly North Korea.
“While this opportunity came about quicker than anticipated, it’s one that will benefit Luka, who was at an age where he was ready to separate from his mother, and one that will support the Zoo’s dedication to tiger conservation by providing potential future breeding opportunities in the years ahead,” said Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley.
Since it opened in 1978, more than 40 tiger cubs have been born at the Minnesota Zoo.