Reka, a rare Amur tiger, is leaving Beardsley Zoo

Reka – a rare Amur tiger who has a heart shape above her right eye – is being transferred as part of a national effort by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums called the Species Survival Plan. The goal is to save endangered species through breeding.

News 12 Staff

Oct 18, 2021, 9:50 PM

Updated 1,010 days ago

Share:

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is getting ready to send off a fan favorite whose birth there made headlines nationwide.
Reka – a rare Amur tiger who has a heart shape above her right eye – is being transferred as part of a national effort by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums called the Species Survival Plan. The goal is to save endangered species through breeding.
Beardsley Zoo director Gregg Dancho called it “bittersweet.”
“We have to say goodbye sometimes for them to go to other facilities, they're AZA-accredited facilities – so they can have babies of their own. If we don't do that, then literally this species could become extinct within 10-15 years,” he says.
The Species Survival Plan is how Reka and her sister Zeya were born in Bridgeport in 2017. Their births made news across the country after zoo staff hand-raised the cubs because their mother had no interest in them.
“Their survivability was at question really from day one, but…Reka is doing so very well. She's going to be 4 years old on Thanksgiving this year,” says Dancho.
Reka is now headed to a zoo in the Midwest, where she's been genetically matched with a mate.
The same happened to Zeya last year, who lives at Rosemund Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.
The zoo where Reka is going will announce her arrival later this fall. Reka and Zeya's mother, Chang-bai, will remain at Beardsley.
There are less than 200 Amur tigers in the wild and about 165 in zoos in the country.
Credit: Jack Bradley


More from News 12