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For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (February 2, 2011)Kavacha the tiger picked the Green Bay Packers to win the big game on Sunday.


Each team’s logo was placed on a window. When the tiger entered the room, Kavacha immediately saw the Green Bay team and began licking and rubbing up against that window signaling his choice.


“Tigers have an affinity for anything that deals with meat, so it was an obvious choice that he chose the Packers,” said Ryan Bickel, Zoo spokesperson.


Last year, the Zoo’s female lions, Ga Vi Vi and Fa La La correctly picked New Orleans to win. This year the Zoo’s lions gave up on watching pro-football after another disappointing season for the Detroit Lions.


Animal Curator Jeff Dier said that activities such as this are called “enrichment activities” and are regularly performed with the great cats.


About Amur (Siberian) Tigers
Amur tigers are the largest cats, weighing up to 700 pounds and measuring between 4.5 to 9.5 feet. They are orange with black stripes with white markings on their underside and faces. No two tigers have the same stripe patterns. They have forward facing eyes that provide excellent binocular vision.        


The Amur Tiger is both powerful and lithe, making it an excellent hunter. It is mainly solitary and highly territorial. Hunting grounds may stretch to 1,600 sq. miles, with its perimeter marked by urine, feces and scratching of trees. The tiger’s soft, broad pads on its feet allow it to walk silently as it stalks it prey. The rough surface of its tongue is covered with tiny spines that it uses to scrape flesh from skin and bones, lap water and clean.

Tigers may mate at any time of the year, but winter seems to be the most popular time. A female is receptive for three to six days and after mating, the male leaves the female. After a gestation period of about 110 days, the female gives birth to a litter of about two to four cubs in a secluded place.  If all of the cubs die, the mother can produce another litter within five months.

Tigers are critically endangered. Three subspecies became extinct since the 1950s, and only five subspecies exist today. Tigers are prized for their fur and medicinal purposes and these have been the main reasons for their decline. There are numerous campaigns and projects that seek to educate the public and protect the tigers. There are about 400 Amur tigers in the wild and about 560 protected in captivity.

The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open every day this winter, 10 am – 3pm. Winter Admission rates are $6.95 for adults, $2.95 for children under 12, and $4.95 for seniors and active military. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.



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