New girl Sayan hoping to catch the eye of the tiger

Vladimir, is now on display at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture: Marie Caley D2481MC
Vladimir, is now on display at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture: Marie Caley D2481MC

WILDLIFE park bosses have their fingers crossed that their newest arrival will catch the eye of the tiger - quite literally.

For Vladimir, a Siberian Amur tiger, now has a female friend which it is hoped he will be able to hit it off with as part of a European conservation programme.

Sayan, the newest addition to the Yorkshire Wildlife Parks Land of the Tiger. Picture: Marie Caley D2479MC

Sayan, the newest addition to the Yorkshire Wildlife Parks Land of the Tiger. Picture: Marie Caley D2479MC

Earlier this year Yorkshire Wildlife Park announced it was to take part in the Amur Tiger European Breeding Programme by taking delivery of four of the big cats - fewer than 400 of which are believed to remain in the wild.

And Vlad is no longer sad after Sayan arrived in Doncaster from an animal park in Kent.

The pair are taking things slowly as they begin to set up home in the park’s new Land of the Tiger enclosure.

Cheryl Williams, director of the park based in Warning Tongue Lane, Branton, said it would be several months before the couple get together, and they are currently in separate areas of the enclosure.

She said: “We are talking about a long engagement. It is going to be a long job to get them together. They are harder to introduce than lions, they are not as gregarious and it will be a long, slow process.

“If we do it too soon there could be tiger wars, so we’re looking at three to six months.

“As long as we don’t rush things it should be fine. They are both young, with Vladimir, aged two, and Sayan, aged three, so they are not stuck in their ways. You could say Vladimir is a bit of a toy boy.

“But we are really excited because this is the first step to us being actively involved in the breeding programme to help save the Amur tiger.

“That is a big thing to be involved in.

“We’re a fairly new park and this is a prestigious thing to be doing.”

Cheryl added that Sayan had settled in well and seemed quite relaxed after the stress of moving.

Vladimir and Sayan are the first of two planned tiger couples, with two more big cats due to arrive next year.

The Amur Tiger is the largest big cat in the world but in the wild is threatened by habitat loss and poachers.

The conservation bid comes after wildlife park bosses completed a rescue mission to bring a pride of 13 lions living in cramped conditions in a Romanian zoo to Doncaster last year.

If Yorkshire Wildlife Park had not stepped in with the £150,000 mission the animals faced having to be put down