Sumatran Tigers To Make Exhibit Debut Thursday, January 30

On Thursday, January 30, Sumatran tiger brothers Rocky and Jaggar are scheduled to make their public debut on exhibit at the Greensboro Science Center (GSC). From 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the tigers will have access to their outdoor exhibit space as well as their indoor holding area. The animals may or may not be visible to GSC guests at any given time, as they will be able to choose where they would like to spend the day.

Tiger-Debut

The two-year-old brothers arrived at the GSC on Friday, January 10 from Florida’s Jacksonville Zoo. Since then, they have spent time getting to know their keepers and adjusting to their new surroundings. Over the last few days, they have been given opportunities to explore their exhibit space for short periods of time under close supervision of GSC staff. Animal care staff have determined that they are now ready to make their debut on exhibit for all GSC guests.

Carolyn Mikulskis, the GSC’s Lead Keeper for tigers, says, “It has been so much fun to work with the tiger brothers over the last couple of weeks. Getting to know their personalities has been amazing and I am so excited for all of our guests to get to see them! They are full of energy and are going to be an amazing addition to the Greensboro Science Center.”

Mikulskis continues, “With the boys only being two years old, we are going to get to watch them grow and mature here at the GSC. They are only about 180lbs right now and could grow up to 310lbs.”

The GSC’s tiger exhibit has gone through extensive renovations over the past two years. The original holding facility was completely rebuilt to support a breeding pair of tigers, which allows the GSC to actively participate in the Sumatran tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) in the future. The new building features four individual rooms that can be combined as needed to form larger rooms. This allows for a future denning space – as well as a separate area for mom and cubs if a breeding recommendation is received from the SSP.

The exhibit space itself has also seen significant changes. Waterfalls, bridges, rocks, scratching posts, climbing structures, shade structures and a cave have all been recently added. In addition to providing guests with a more aesthetically pleasing view, animal care staff hope these changes will provide the animals with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Tigers Return to Greensboro

On Friday, January 10, 2020, two-year-old Sumatran tiger brothers, Rocky and Jaggar arrived at the Greensboro Science Center (GSC) from Florida’s Jacksonville Zoo. The pair is currently being housed behind the scenes as they acclimate to their new surroundings. An exhibit debut date has not yet been determined.

Jessica Hoffman-Balder, the GSC’s VP of Animal Care and Welfare says, “Rocky and Jaggar arrived safe and sound Friday afternoon. They did very well with transport and settled in quickly to their new home.”

VIDEO: Tigers arrive at Greensboro Science Center

The GSC’s tiger exhibit has gone through extensive renovations over the past two years. The original holding facility was completely rebuilt to support a breeding pair of tigers, which allows the GSC to actively participate in the Sumatran tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) in the future. The new building features four individual rooms that can be combined as needed to form larger rooms. This allows for a future denning space – as well as a separate area for mom and cubs if a breeding recommendation is received from the SSP.

The exhibit space itself has also seen significant changes. Waterfalls, bridges, rocks, scratching posts, climbing structures, shade structures and a cave have all been recently added. In addition to providing guests with a more aesthetically pleasing view, animal care staff hope these changes will provide the animals with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Rocky and Jaggar will spend the foreseeable future adjusting to their new home and keepers. They’ll slowly be granted access to the exhibit space to explore their surroundings while the GSC is closed. Once the animal care team is confident the animals are well adjusted and ready to meet the public, an official opening date will be announced.

Eury’s Story: Caring for an Aging Anteater

Since 2008, Eury has been one of the most charismatic crowd-pleasers in our zoo. 

If you’ve participated in a Zoo Trek, you may have experienced the shock of his 2-foot-long tongue snaking inside your sneaker. 

If you’ve accidentally dropped a little one’s shoe into his exhibit, you may have seen firsthand the catastrophic consequences of his inquisitive nature. 

And, if you’ve listened to a Keeper Talk featuring our beloved anteater, you may have heard him fondly referred to as a grumpy old man. Temperament aside, at 19 years of age, Eury is, in fact, considered “old.” 

In the wild, giant anteaters have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, while in captivity, they have been known to reach 20 years of age. As with all of our geriatric animals, our animal care staff has been working hard to help ease the side effects of Eury’s advancing age. 

Eury arrived at the GSC with an old hip injury. To compensate for the damage, Eury had naturally been bearing more weight on the uninjured side, which led to chronic arthritis in that knee. 

Eury---Hip

An x-ray of Eury’s old hip injury. The left side of the image shows the damage.

Eury---Knee

An x-ray of Eury’s damaged knee. The right side of the image shows the affected area.

To manage his pain, our team has been making adjustments to Eury’s habitat as well as administering medication as necessary. 

Inside the blockhouse (the indoor part of his exhibit), keepers are ensuring the kiddie pool he uses as a bed is full of a thick, comfy layer of pine shavings. Additional mulch is regularly added to the area  to create a soft surface for him to walk on. In the outdoor exhibit space, the yard is being tiered to create a more gentle slope, which will be easier for his old bones to navigate.

When it comes to medication, Eury receives a daily glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, a daily dose of meloxicam and two daily doses of both tramadol and gabapentin. In addition, he receives a glycosaminoglycan injection every two weeks. New to his care routine are daily cannabis oil treats.

Eury has also recently started acupuncture and cold laser therapy sessions, which he is handling very well. Dr. Tara Harrison, from North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, visited the GSC in early June to assist with his first session. In addition to demonstrating the proper technique to our teams, she also brought along a group of her students to observe and participate. To keep Eury occupied while acupuncture was in progress, our animal care staff provided him with some of his favorite snacks. Eventually, those snacks ran out. While those assembled would likely give him the shirts off their backs, they opted for another of his best-loved enrichment items instead – the shoes off their feet (Eury is quite fond of investigating stinky shoes).

Eury-Acupuncture

For the last 3 years, Eury has been regularly evaluated by animal care staff using our quality of life assessment. During these assessments, Eury’s primary keeper and our veterinarian discuss Eury’s health, well-being, and current and potential treatments. For his most recent assessment, it was noted that, although Eury has chronic and severe arthritis, he is still maintaining himself (grooming, eating, drinking, keeping weight on, etc.) and he is responding well to the acupuncture and cold laser therapy sessions. 

Eury is a geriatric anteater and is experiencing some of the issues that come with advanced age, but he is still doing well and his keeper and vet will continue to monitor his quality of life and provide him with supportive care.