LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Zoo has bid a farewell to a longtime resident of the capital city.
On Monday, zoo staff announced that Asmara, a Malayan Tiger who gave birth to three female tigers at the zoo last year, will be relocated to Tampa, Florida in hopes to become a mother once again at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
The relocation comes as a recommendation from the tiger species survival program (SSP). The SSP Program was created by Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to ensure the survival of select endangered or threatened species in zoos and aquariums, according to the zoo.
Asmara was born at the Little Rock Zoo on November 12, 2013 and grew up alongside her mother and three brothers until they were also relocated to other zoos.
In 2022, male tiger Jaya arrived at the zoo and staff said they quickly became companions and then parents to Kae, Sundari and Zoya in August.
Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui said it has been a privilege for the zoo staff and guests to have been able to watch Asmara grow from a playful cub to an amazing adult female and will be truly missed.
“We are all sad to see Asmara go. She is a fiercely beautiful tiger and stunning example her species. However, we all know and agree that this is the absolute correct decision,” said Altrui. “As a member of the AZA and specifically working in the tiger SSP, we are glad to do our part to help conserve this special species for many generations to come.”
The Little Rock Zoo said Asmara began her move to Florida on November 20. The cubs are still at the Little Rock Zoo at this time.