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Endangered Siberian tiger on display at West Japan zoo, with hopes for breeding

A Siberian tiger named Hiroshi, on display at Tokushima Dobutsuen Kitajima Kensetsu no Mori zoo, is seen in this picture provided by the zoo.

TOKUSHIMA -- A zoo in this western Japan city put a 9-year-old male Siberian tiger on display on July 18, hoping he will father cubs of the endangered species in the future.

As part of efforts by the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums to breed the species, Omoriyama zoo in the northern Japan city of Akita lent the 9-year-old tiger, named Hiroshi, to the Tokushima Dobutsuen Kitajima Kensetsu no Mori zoo. The Tokushima zoo will also borrow a female Siberian tiger in the future, aiming for them to breed.

Hiroshi is somewhat smaller than an average Siberian tiger, having a body length of some 217 centimeters and weighing around 176 kilograms at the time of his departure from Omoriyama zoo. He is slightly larger than a 14-year-old male Bengal tiger called Lupin at the Tokushima zoo, and is apparently calm and kind in nature.

According to the Tokushima zoo, Siberian tigers inhabit in Russia near the Amur River, and though their numbers declined to around 100, now there are reportedly about 500 of the species. Apparently 57 Siberian tigers were being kept at 25 facilities in Japan as of the end of December 2019.

(Japanese original by Ayane Matsuyama, Tokushima Bureau)

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