L.A. Zoo

Two-year-old Indah arrived in June as a potential breeding partner for 4-year-old C.J.

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February 09, 2017 10:52 AM

C.J. the tiger is off the market!

The 4-year-old male Sumatran tiger now has a steady companion in female Sumatran tiger, Indah, 2, following a “delicate introduction process” that began in June.

The zoo says in a press release that Indah arrived from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, last summer as a potential breeding partner for C.J., who came to the zoo in 2014 from the Sacramento Zoo. But it wasn’t clear at first if these two would have eyes for each other.

“Introducing two tigers can be an extremely sensitive process that requires time and patience,” said Dorothy Belanger, senior animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “You would never want to immediately put two tigers together in the same space because they are territorial by nature. Animal Care staff helped Indah get used to her new home while also taking necessary steps to build familiarity and eventually trust between the two tigers.”

This romance blossomed big time behind-the-scenes. According to the zoo, staff began what they call “a howdy process,” or a slow meeting situation that allows the two cats to see each other without being in the same space. (Hey, humans need their space too.)

While this was going on, Indah was also allowed to explore the habitat at night alone, so she could discover her new surroundings without any interference.

On Dec. 8, 2016, things got serious. It was the tiger’s first date, a full sixth months after Indah’s arrival — and guess what? They have been hanging out together in their habitat ever since, the zoo says.

Visitors can now observe these lovebirds in their habitat together at Tiger Plaza daily, weather permitting.

It sounds like communication is the key to happiness for these two.

“This pairing has really been the best case scenario when putting two tigers together,” said Krissy Parada, animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “The pair is getting along great, and while C.J. is bigger and more excited to get to know her, he listens to her warnings when she wants her space. There haven’t been any disagreements so far, and they seem to communicate very well because they met when they were still young.”

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