Denver Zoo to welcome endangered male Amur tiger this summer

DENVER — The Denver Zoo plans to import a 3-year-old male Amur tiger named Martin from Russia’s Moscow Zoo this summer.

Martin was born there in June 2014 and now weighs nearly 450 pounds. Zookeepers say he’s a calm animal.

The Denver Zoo plans to breed Martin with their lone female tiger, 6-year-old Nikita, as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan because he is unrelated to any tigers in the U.S.

“Martin will help ensure we have genetically viable populations of tigers for the millions of current and future guests who visit zoos to gain an appreciation and respect for the species,” Denver Zoo vice president for animal care Brian Aucone said.

The Denver Zoo will make an announcement once Martin has arrived, and will share photos and video of him before the import on its Facebook page.

After Martin arrives, he’ll be under routine quarantine and not on display.

But then he’ll join Nikita, and 7-year-old brothers Thimbu and Nikolai in the zoo’s newest habitat, The Edge, which includes elevated lofts where the tigers walk 12 feet above visitors’ heads.

Once called Siberian tigers, there are only an estimated 400 Amur tigers left in the wild, mostly in the Far to Far East part of Asia along the Amur River.

In addition to habitat loss, their biggest threat comes from poaching for their fur and other body parts used in traditional Asian medicine.