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Sumatran tiger Asim arrives at London Zoo

12 February 2019

The head tiger keeper, Kathryn Sanders, described Asim as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life - we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our lovely Melati". Asim was recently transferred to London from a Danish safari park to serve as a new mate for female resident tiger Melati.

Ten-year-old Melati, who had been at London Zoo since 2012, was mauled by Asim shortly after they were introduced and could not be saved, despite the efforts of staff.

The two tigers had been kept in adjoining enclosures for 10 days so they could get used to one another, but their first interaction 'quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction'.

On Friday morning, the gates of the adjoining enclosures were left open for the two to meet.

In a statement, the zoo said: "As with all big cats, introductions, however carefully planned, are always considered to be high risk".

The zoo staff acknowledged that introductions of big cats is a risky task but experts said they noticed positive signs from both Asim and Melati. Keepers were able to restrain Asim, but Melati died from the attack.

Melati had previously given birth to tiger cub twins at the zoo three years ago. They did manage to put Asim, 7, back in a separate paddock, but by that time Melati, 10, was already dead.

Speaking about Asim's condition, Mr Fitzpatrick said the tiger had been through a "traumatic event" and suffered minor injuries, which were being "monitored".

Heralding his arrival, the zoo described him as "a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life", adding that "we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our lovely Melati".

In 2013, Melati gave birth to two cubs but one fell into a pool and drowned.

Sumatran tigers are described as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Federation, which estimages there are fewer than 400 in the wild.

According to London Zoo, the Sumatran tiger faces threats of poaching and habitat loss.

Sumatran tiger Asim arrives at London Zoo