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Sunday 15 December 2019

A cat can look like a king – majestic Ussuri rules zoo

Ken Sweeney

THERE is a new top cat at Dublin Zoo.

Meet two-year old Ussuri, the Siberian tiger.

One of the world's largest living cats, it is found primarily in the Amur River region, on the border between Russia and China.

But due to hunting and the destruction of their habitat, it is estimated that there are only between 300 and 400 Siberian or Amur tigers left in the wild.

Ciaran McMahon, team leader of the big cats at Dublin Zoo, said visitors have already been "mesmerised" by the big cat who arrived on Monday and weighs about 250kg.

"Ussuri is truly remarkable. To put his impressive size into context, he is about a hundred times the size of a domestic cat," said Ciaran, who added that the tiger had already established his dominance among 11-year-old sisters Zeya and Shilka in the Fringes of the Arctic at Dublin Zoo.

But the zoo said Ireland's own cold front this month would have little effect on the big cat: "There's no need to worry about the recent drop in temperature because the cold doesn't bother these guys. With a thick coat of coarse fur, Amur tigers are built for this weather."

Dublin Zoo is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 4.30pm this month.

Irish Independent

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