Zoo receives two tigers from Los Angeles Zoo

Kuasa, one of two Sumatran tigers that are the newest additions to the Hattiesburg Zoo, prowls through the exhibit Saturday afternoon.    Hunt Mercier/Printz
Kuasa, one of two Sumatran tigers that are the newest additions to the Hattiesburg Zoo, prowls through the exhibit Saturday afternoon.
Hunt Mercier/Printz

The Hattiesburg Zoo has recently welcomed two new members into its family: the Sumatran tiger brothers Kuasa and Cinta.

Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, said the zoo has had a long history of showcasing tigers as one of its primary exhibits. The tiger is even the logo animal for the zoo. When the two Sumatran tigers could no longer remain at the Los Angeles Zoo where they were born, the decision was made for them to reside in the Hattiesburg Zoo.

“With the construction of the new tiger holding building, we are able to participate more in the conservation of endangered species such as the Sumatran Tiger,” Taylor said. “Our record of great animal care made us attractive to the (Los Angeles) Zoo who asked if we could care for the male tiger brothers, Cinta and Kuasa, who had grown too (old) to remain in the tiger family unit at the (Los Angeles) Zoo. We had the facility, the capable staff and the desire.”

The new additions to the tiger exhibit hold a lot of significance for the zoo as a safe habitat for endangered species. “It continues with our tradition of providing our community and our state an opportunity to view and learn about the many interesting animals found on planet Earth,” Taylor said. “It also helps, through conservation, to preserve this very unique species.”

Many zoogoers have been asking about the fate of the Siberian tiger named Tigger that once dominated the tiger exhibit at the zoo. Taylor assures patrons that Tigger will remain at the zoo and will still be a part of the exhibit, though she will be kept in another area, as Kuasa and Cinta are a bit too rambunctious to be penned with the elderly tiger.

Visitors seem to be taking to the new exhibit kindly. “It’s nice to see a little exposure for Hattiesburg,” said Joseph Wambold, a zoo visitor who checked out the new tiger exhibit.

This is not the only expansion in store for the zoo. Coming this April is the addition of the Asbury Discovery Center, the zoo’s new education center.

“While we cannot provide details on this very special building, we are excited to hint that future visitors should gear up for a wild journey through imagination and curiosity,” Taylor said. Taylor and other zoo staff greatly encourage students, faculty and other Hattiesburg residents to visit.

“There is no better place to learn about our big, beautiful world and the exotic animals that make it so interesting than at the Hattiesburg Zoo,” Taylor said. “In addition to an exciting and fun-filled time, visitors will leave with a greater appreciation for the need to protect these wild species for the future.”

Kuasa and Cinta are assimilating into their new home quite nicely and are basking in their fame. Anyone wishing to see the tiger duo can stop by the Hattiesburg zoo anytime from Thursday to Sunday between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.

For more information about the Hattiesburg Zoo, visit www.zoohattiesburg.com.