Photo of the day: Utah’s Hogle Zoo introduces its newest resident — Sasha the Amur tiger

Utah’s Hogle Zoo on Wednesday introduced its newest resident — Sasah a 2-year old female Amur tiger.

According to Bob Cisneros, associate director of animal care at the zoo, Sasha came from Rolling Hills Zoo in Kansas, is settling in her new habitat in the zoo’s Asian Highlands exhibit and is acclimating well.

Sasha may eventually be recommended to breed with Nikolai, an 11-year-old male Amur tiger and current resident at Asian Highlands, when she matures. Utah’s Hogle Zoo animal care teams and management will continue to work closely with organizations following a Species Survival Program and breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which promotes healthy, genetically diverse populations in accredited zoos.

Considered solitary animals, and to best mimic their natural surroundings, Sasha has a dedicated habitat next to Nikolai. 

The population of Amur tigers is dwindling due to poaching and habitat loss by deforestation, and there are only approximately 500 Amur tigers left in the wild, making them an endangered species.

Amur tigers, which are considered one of the largest cats in the world, are found in the Russia Far East with a small number in China and possibly North Korea. With an average weight of 240 pound to 290 pounds for female Amur tigers, and 450 pounds for males, sexual maturity typically peaks around 4 years of age.

Gestation period tends to range from 3 to 3 1/2 months with litters of an average size of two to four cubs. In the wild, Amur tigers have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Under specialized human care, Amur tigers can live up to approximately 20 years of age.