SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) — A pair of tigers from the Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina are set to relocate in the coming weeks, according to a press release from the zoo.
Sasha and Nadya, who have been at the Rolling Hills Zoo since they were cubs, are heading north to the Dakotas. Sasha will be moving to Bramble Zoo in Watertown, S.D. and Nadya will be headed farther north to Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, N.D.
The tigers are two years old, which is the natural age for tigers to separate from their family unit.
Born to Andrea on Aug. 14, 2019, and sired by Dhenuka, the cubs weighed less than 8 lbs. at birth. Now weighing 260 lbs each, they almost weigh the same as their mother who weighs 300 lbs.
Sasha and Nadya will be recommended for future breeding after they turn four by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) – which is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which Rolling Hills Zoo is an accredited member.
“It’s been a lot of fun watching these girls grow, and learning their personalities,” Brenda Gunder, Rolling Hills Zoo curator said. “While it is sad to see them leave, we are proud of our contribution to the SSP population and look forward to watching them mature at their new homes.”
As of 2020, there were 107 tigers at 47 institutions in the U.S. and Canada, with Sasha and Nadya being the only successful Amur cub births of 2019. For that reason, their breeding is vitally important for the SSP population.
The Amur tiger is found primarily in the Russian Far East. The wild population fell to less than 20-30 animals in the 1930s, contributing to the low genetic variation found in this population. The poaching of tigers and their prey are the primary threat to this population.
For more information, visit the website of the Rolling Hills Zoo here.