Tiger Country opens at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Big Cats About the House star Giles Clark has officially opened Land of the Tigers at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire.
The star of this summer’s BBC Two Big Cats About the House and Bears About the House cut the ribbon for the new Paradise Wildlife Park habitat yesterday (Thursday) ahead of the Land of the Tigers public opening on Saturday, October 3 .
After starting at Broxbourne Zoo as a teenager, Giles is now director of Big Cats and Conservation at Paradise’s sister charity, The Big Cat Sanctuary.
He said: “It was amazing to see the Amur tigers, Aleena and Siberia, settling into their new home: Land of the Tigers!
“This is an absolutely fantastic habitat, which has put animal welfare at the forefront, as well as an emphasis on educating our public about the issues this species faces in the wild.
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“We need people to continue to visit zoos and sanctuaries to raise awareness of our planet’s wildlife and Land of the Tigers is the perfect place to see nature in all its beauty.”
The new Land of the Tigers attraction is the first of its kind in the UK.
No other Amur tiger enclosure in the UK has a pool deep enough for both tigers to be completely submerged underwater.
In addition, it is the first mixed habitat of this type in the country with the introduction of 41 koi and grass carp in the basin.
This acts as a fantastic enrichment for the tigers, who observe the fish.
They can also swim with carp in the 22,000 gallon pool.
The Guardians of Heaven have also built an observation area where you can come face to face with the tigers as they swim, as well as admire the beautifully colored carp.
Amur tigers are an endangered species and wildlife park officials hope the new habitat at White Stubbs Lane Zoo will raise awareness of the cousins of Aleena and Siberia who are fighting in the nature.
Environmentalist Giles knows these sisters well, with their triplet Amasia staying at the Big Cat Sanctuary.
After a visit to Land of the Tigers, Giles also participated in one of Paradise’s Big Cat Feed experiences.
He fed one of the tigers fresh meat – the fat cat’s equivalent of a “packet of chips” snack!
In the wild, Amur tigers are under constant threat due to negative human impacts including habitat destruction, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and many other issues.
Paradise Tiger Habitat focuses on the illegal wildlife trade and logging where unsustainable and unauthorized mass destruction of the forest leaves the wild Amur tiger threatened with extinction, according to the classification from IUCN.
Paradise structured the new habitat around thematic shipping containers that would be comparable to those used to transport trees felled as part of the illegal logging trade.
Paradise CEO Lynn Whitnall said, “Land of the Tigers will bring visitors closer to our magnificent tigers like never before with the incredible underwater view of the habitat.”
For those wondering about the presence of fish in the tiger pond, this type of coexistence has been successful in many zoos in America, Europe and Asia.
Paradise Wildlife Park / The Zoological Society of Hertfordshire is the first to create this type of mixed habitat in the UK.
The park posted on its Instagram page: “We took all the results into account and studied this type of mixed habitat in great detail.
“We also presented the idea of having fish in our tiger pond to our ethics committee which is made up of independent international and world-renowned veterinarians and wildlife experts who were happy with the habitat.
“Our fish also have various caves and areas that tigers cannot access.”
Paradise Wildlife Park is also home to over 800 animals, including 10 individual big cats, the largest anaconda on display in the UK and a bespoke dinosaur world, with 30 motion-sensing dinosaurs.
For more information and to book tickets, visit www.pwpark.com