It’s been 70 years since the National Zoo last housed an Amur tiger, but that drought is officially at an end. This week, a ten-year-old male makes his debut, magisterial in a coat of ruddy brown fur accented by crisp black stripes. Zookeepers say his personality befits his cool, aloof appearance, describing him as “reserved,” though “laidback when interacting with animal care staff.” True to the eastern Russian heritage of the species—also known as the Siberian tiger—the new arrival is named Pavel, a Slavic equivalent of “Paul.”
Pavel’s species is currently endangered; only 360 Amur tigers occupy the snowy Eurasian forest that has long served as their habitat. The twin threats of habitat destruction and poaching have taken a toll, and will continue to do so in the coming years, according to Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
The Zoo’s fabulous new feline will be exhibited in daily rotation beginning today. What with the frigid weather now buffeting Washington, D.C., the Siberian big cat must feel right at home.