Lincoln Park Zoo plays matchmaker

July 20, 2010 10:22:18 AM PDT
At Lincoln Park Zoo's Siberian Tiger Exhibit the excitement isn't happening in the main habitat. The action, or lack of action, is taking place down in the moat area where the big male Vahzhno is trying to get up close and very personal with Molly as part of a matchmaking experiment.

"We're trying to put our two tigers together for breeding. Our female Molly and our male Vahzhno. Every month or so when she cycles we introduce them together for two or three consecutive days in the hopes that they'll breed," said Dave Bernier, Curator of Mammals Lincoln Park Zoo.

So far, 8-year-old Vahzhno has been making unsuccessful passes at Molly, who, at three years older, appears to be quite bored with her young suitor. Molly was part of the last Siberian Tiger litter born at the zoo in 1997, which is why Lincoln Park Zoo officials are excited about the possibility of more tiger cubs. Vahzhno is excited, but Molly is playing hard to get.

"He's a very smart cat. You know he can read the signals. He doesn't have to be beaten over the head to know that she doesn't want him around right now," said Bernier.

It may look familiar- a bit like a singles bar where the guy tries to meet the girl and the girl just isn't interested.

"Right, right. He's trying to buy her drinks and she's not having any of it," said Bernier. But will she give in? "Maybe."

This love experiment could last for another year.


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