Tiger Trail, a brand new 5.2-acre Sumatran tiger habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opens today. Tiger Trail replaces the old tiger habitat and has three separate yards with rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnaps. Tiger Trail will also have a birthing den with an outdoor space. It took about $20 million to complete the space and it shows.
The Sambutan Longhouse, a simulated cultural center in the middle of the Tiger Trail area, and the Pondok, an Indonesian hut or shack demonstrate how poaching and the illegal trade of animal products are impacting the survival of tigers and other animals that share their habitat.
We attended the donor preview and were blown away by how well-done the entire habitat is as well as how close you can get to the tigers behind glass if they’re in the mood. This tiger is looking at my 7-year-old. No zoom involved.
I wish we’d done a little research in advance regarding each tiger in the exhibit. Arming kids with tiger detail might make the experience even more fun.
Meet the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Sumatran Tigers
At 16 years old, Delta is the grand dame of the Park’s tigers. She’s identified by a beauty mark under her left eye and mother of all four of the cubs in the exhibit (there are five total, including her). The keepers say that she is the epitome of a tigress complexity with some sugar and some spice.
Delta is a very protective mother who takes care of her cubs, but still trusts the keepers. Peppermint essential oil is her favorite enrichment smell.
Teddy age 10 and oh-so-handsome, he’s the largest tiger at the park. He lives solo in his own habitat but manages to keep busy.
Keepers describe him as a “destructive decorator,” saying he loves to make confetti out of the cardboard boxes in his bedroom!
Joanne is 3 years old and the littermate of sister of Majer, below. She might be smaller than Majer, but keepers say that Joanne is more dominant. Like her mother, Dora, Joanne loves smells preferably men’s cologne.
Find Joanne by looking spots between her stripes.
Majel is also 3 years old and the littermate of sister Joanne, above. She weighs about 20 lbs more than her sister and is usually the first tiger to greet keepers in the morning. She can be very affectionate but is quick to change moods.
Majel has straight stripes on her head.
Conrad is 2 two years old and the littermate of brother Thomas, below. Keepers describe him as affectionate yet quiet. Conrad’s favorite toy is a weeble-like figure that pops up after being knocked down.
Find Conrad by looking for thicker black bands on his tail.
Thomas is 2 years old and the littermate of brother Conrad. Keepers say that he is the most vocal tiger of the group. Thomas loves to wrestle with his brother and tackle his weeble.
Thomas has an R-shaped marking at the base of his tail and a sideways K at the top of his head.
Plan Time to Play
A new tiger-themed play area allows kids to blow of some steam and parents to rest after (or before) checking out Tiger Trail. A number of benches and shady areas line the jungle gym (pardon the pun).
Overall, the conservation message is very strong throughout Tiger Trail and it’s a great addition to one of San Diego’s best attractions.
If you are visiting San Diego and need tickets for multiple attractions, I suggest you read how to save money on San Diego attractions as there are numerous ways to bundle tickets. Our site affiliate partner aRes Travel also offers discount San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets, including a great deal on a family pack. Print or use on mobile and head straight to the gate.
Have you seen Tiger Trail yet? What did you think?
Top photo credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park