MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Zoo workers in Minot have a big job ahead of them as they’re in the process of sending four tigers to their new homes.
It’s almost moving day for Jeff Bullock and his staff at the Roosevelt Park Zoo.
“We work with other accredited zoos across the country,” said Jeff Bullock, executive director at Roosevelt Park Zoo.
Right now, the zoo has already said ‘goodbye’ to Viktor the tiger, and the three cubs Viktoria, Dimitri, and Luka will be leaving soon.
Bullock says Minot can’t keep the Amur tigers.
“If we would have kept Viktor, the adult male, as the boys got older, he would become aggressive towards them and see them as competitors for breeding,” said Bullock.
It’s been three years since Minot first opened its large tiger exhibit and they’ve been successful already with their tiger breeding program.
Bullock says the cats are well suited to Minot’s cold winters, and even in the hot summers, the zoo has spent money on ways to keep the tigers cool.
“Well they got their ponds cuz tigers love water we invested in a whole new circulating system last year and that water is continuously getting refreshed. Then they have got shade spots,” said Bullock.
Bullock says the good news is that animal lovers in Minot won’t be waiting long.
“We have a new male coming in actually. The transporter that will be moving Viktoria down to Kansas will head out to pick up that male hopefully within the next few weeks we can make an announcement that he is here and kind of introduce him to the community,” said Bullock.
Bullock says the goal is to breed the eligible bachelor tiger with Zoya, their female tiger.
Chelsea Mihalick is one of the workers whose job it is to care for the big cats and she admits she’ll miss caring for the cubs.
“The most rewarding thing for me was watching Zoya become a mom. And she pretty much did everything. We didn’t really have to do a whole lot. Just their checkups when they were younger and other than that Zoya did it all,” said Chelsea Mihalick, a senior zookeeper at Roosevelt Park Zoo.
Bullock says families who want one last look at the tigers have a few more days before they head to their new homes.
Right now, Roosevelt Park Zoo is open every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Next month, the zoo has its Christmas at the zoo on Sunday, December 10.