Tiger Talk: International Tiger Day 2020

Posted July 29, 2020 by Michelle Kuchle

Today is International Tiger Day!! Here at the Cincinnati Zoo we have Malayan tigers which are the second smallest species of tiger. They can get up to 7-8 feet long and between 200-300 lbs. We have three Malayan tigers here, Chira, Batari and Izzy. They are all sisters, born on February 3, 2017.  Their mom Cinta was a 1st-time mom who didn’t show interest in raising them, so the girls were hand-reared in the Zoo’s nursery. They are all very playful and love enrichment and treats!

Meet the Tigers


Chira is our epileptic tiger but because of our amazing vet staff, she is now on 3 different types of medicines to help her seizures, which has reduced her to only 1 seizure in the past 12 months! Despite her medical issues, she is very social and the best climber we have! We have been working with all our tigers and their new cool feed pole in the yard- a pole with a special winch that allows us to hang food or toys and the tigers climb the natural tree to retrieve them! Chira is still working on her climbing but can get about halfway up the pole! She weighs in at 287 lbs and her favorite food is rabbits. YUM!


Batari is our biggest tiger weighing in at 302 lbs. She is also the chuffiest tiger (a chuff is a happy tiger noise since tigers cannot purr). And she is the most playful tiger here. Batari LOVES enrichment. Enrichment is our way of mentally stimulating the animals- we do this with all sorts of different things to engage them like scents, toys, food, etc. Batari’s favorite toy is a big barrel that hangs on the wall and she can spin it to get treats to fall out (she continues to spin even after all the treats are out just for fun!).


Next, we have Izzy- she is our smartest tiger! She picks up on husbandry training so fast! We train our tigers for things that will make their life easier and less stressful. Our tigers are all trained for voluntary injections and blood draws! She is our smallest tiger weighing in at 243 lbs and her favorite food is rabbits too! Her favorite enrichment is rolling around in non-toxic washable paint and making a huge mess 😝

Conservation Status

Malayan tigers are found in central and southern parts of the Malay peninsula and southern Thailand in dense tropical forests. They are the top of the food chain and eat whatever they can catch- which include deer, boar, sun bears, young elephants, and tapir. But just because they are top of the food chain does not mean they are doing well in the wild. There are estimated to be only 250-340 individual tigers left in the wild. Of all the tiger species combined there are estimated to be about 3,500 left.

How to Help
Michelle and Chira

The tiger girls in our care serve as ambassadors for their species in the wild, which aren’t doing so well. As you make connections with Chira, Batari and Izzy, we hope it inspires you to consider how to take action to help conserve tigers. One way to help is to buy products that use only sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is found in many products in your home from lipstick to ice cream (it’s everywhere!). Palm oil plants tear down a lot of forests that the tigers call home, so by using products that farm palm oil sustainably you are helping save the tigers habitat! You can also support tigers in the wild by purchasing an International Tiger Day Kit from the Feline Conservation Foundation. 

Another way to help tigers is by choosing to support reputable conservation organizations, including zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, or AZA. AZA accreditation ensures that an institution meets the highest standards of animal care as well as contributes to conservation and education. So come out and visit our tigers today and help support tigers in the wild!