San Diego Zoo Safari Park to Open Tull Family Tiger Trail

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Tiger Trail logoThe San Diego Zoo Safari Park is putting finishing touches on a new 5.2-acre Sumatran tiger habitat that will open on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The Tull Family Tiger Trail, named in honor of Thomas and Alba Tull, who donated $9 million for the project, is a forested habitat offering up-close views of the Park’s six Sumatran tigers and highlighting conservation efforts for the species.

Tiger Trail, which cost $19.5 million to create, features three separate yards for the tigers, with rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnaps. The new Tiger Trail experience includes a Sambutan longhouse, a simulated cultural center in the middle of Tiger Trail, and a pondok, an Indonesian hut or shack where guests can discover how poaching and the illegal trade of animal products are impacting the survival of tigers and other animals that share their habitat. Tiger Trail also features a simulated logging camp with play elements such as a rope-climb and a log-walk bridge for children to explore while learning about the conservation of tigers in the wild.

The Safari Park is currently home to six Sumatran tigers, four of which are under the age of four years old. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020, unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it.

Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to conflicts with humans, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers, who then illegally sell tiger body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by avoiding products that harm tiger habitat and refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.