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11-year-old Amur tiger joins Zoo Boise family

Akasha, an 11-year-old female Amur tiger, was welcomed to Zoo Boise from Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana on May 6.

BOISE, Idaho — The newest resident of Zoo Boise's rebranded 'ReTIGERment Home' was welcomed to the animal family on May 6. 

Akasha, an 11-year-old Amur tiger, is adjusting to her new Boise home after living most of her life at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana. Zoo Boise said Akasha is past her "prime breeding age," and will enjoy retirement in the Gem State. 

"This is an incredible opportunity for Zoo Boise to welcome an animal into our family and take great care of her while advancing our conservation mission," Zoo Boise Director, Gene Peacock said. 

The Amur tiger's new home includes access to a pool and a private residence, as tigers appreciate time alone, according to Zoo Boise. Chefs, cleaning services, enrichment and training entertainment, healthcare, and a maintenance crew are also on the menu for Akasha's "golden years."

Zoo Boise said Akasha's transition to Idaho creates space at her previous location in Indiana, which may be useful for a breeding pair of tigers. The Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) matches tigers for breeding through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

According to Zoo Boise, SSP's mission is to ensure there is a viable population of tigers within accredited zoos and that the animals are genetically healthy, in case they are reintroduced to the wild. Amur tigers also are endangered.

Akasha was born at the Denver Zoo before spending the majority of her life at the Mesker Park Zoo.

"To have a very successful program, zoos across the nation need to work collaboratively to meet both the welfare and genetic pairing needs of species in their care in order to sustain a healthy population," Amur Tiger SSP Vice Coordinator, Trista Fischer said. "We are very grateful to Zoo Boise for taking in Akasha, spoiling her during her retirement years, and helping both the Amur and Sumatran tiger populations."

Akasha's home at Zoo Boise is an indoor-outdoor habitat, so the visiting public may not see her right away in her new home. 

More than $3 million has been generated for the conservation of animals in the wild through visits to Zoo Boise since 2007.

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