CJ, the Sumatran tiger cub, turned a year old on March 3. He weighed three pounds at birth and now weighs 130 pounds, though he appears to be growing every day. On March 1, the Sacramento Zoo and guests celebrated his birthday.
Guests were given tiger ear hats, invited to sign a giant card, and were able to participate in various activities throughout the Zoo. At noon, CJ and his mother, Baha, entered their exhibit to discover birthday-themed enrichments. CJ was anything but apprehensive when he pounced on his cardboard birthday cake that was decorated with non-toxic paint and sprinkled with keeper-approved spices for him to enjoy.
While every animal at the Zoo is special, CJ’s birthday provided an opportunity to highlight Sumatran tigers. These unique tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula and are critically endangered. It’s estimated that fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild with approximately 200 more living in zoos around the world.
The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity, and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature. CJ’s birth is a success of this program – something worth celebrating.