Zip-lines for tigers!
Published: 2nd Apr 2013Paignton Zoo has built a zip-line for its tigers. Keepers devised the thrill ride with help from woodland adventure company Treesurfers. In fact, it is the big cats’ lunch…
Paignton Zoo has built a zip-line for its tigers.
Keepers devised the thrill ride with help from woodland adventure company Treesurfers.
In fact, it is the big cats’ lunch that will ride the zip-line – all the tigers have to do is catch it.
Senior Head Keeper of Mammals Matthew Webb explained: “We have used things such as hanging bags in the past to encourage them to get a bit more physical. Now we have the zip line, down which we can send meat for the tigers to chase and jump at.
“We have also erected a feeding post – simply a tall post from which food is hung so that the cats have to climb to reach it. These are all important methods of feeding, as studies have shown that tigers use the same movement and muscles to climb as they do to bring down prey, and animals in zoos that feed using this method have reduced arthritis in old age.”
Female Sumatran tiger Banda – pictured - weighs around 114 kilos, but climbs the post for her breakfast in a flash.
Treesurfers co-founder Paul Turner said: “We were approached by the Zoo and were happy to help. We donated some steel cable, karabiners and pulleys. It was old equipment - we replace items regularly for safety reasons. I think it has to be the most unusual request we have ever had!”
Matthew said: “The donation is worth in excess of £200 – although its real value is in what it means for the tigers. Thanks to Treesurfers we have been able to construct these great new feeding devices for them.
Treesurfers are based at Gunnislake, near Tavistock in Devon. Launched in 2009, they offer rope courses and zip-line tours designed to help people get up close and personal with some of the South West’s most beautiful woodlands in the Tamar Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Paignton Zoo is part of the European Endangered species Programme (EEP) for Sumatran tigers.