By Adam Dutton via SWNS
Spectacular pictures shows one of the world's rarest tigers leaping at full stretch to devour a chicken before being introduced to a new female mate.
Dash, a male Sumatran tiger, has been matched with a seven-year-old female Kasarna as part of Chester Zoo's breeding program.
There are just 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild making them the rarest species of big cat on the planet.
Three-year-old Dash has been identified as a genetically compatible mate for Kasarna, who was born at the zoo in 2015.
Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants at the zoo, said: “Dash is a handsome, confident young tiger and he’s quickly settled into his new surroundings.
“He’s been carefully matched with female tiger Kasarna, based on his age, character and his genetics, and we’re hopeful that they’ll soon strike up a close bond and, one day, go on to have cubs.
“Sumatran tigers are exceptionally rare and, sadly, their wild population continues to feel enormous pressure from mass-scale habitat loss, poaching and human-tiger conflict.
“Their prospect of survival is hanging by a thread and the endangered species breeding program, run by Europe’s leading conservation zoos, is a vitally important part of the international effort to ensure these magnificent animals are here for generations to come. Every single cub could be critical to its future.
“Without conservation efforts like these, the future for the Sumatran tiger may soon look similar to that of Javan, Caspian and Balinese tigers, which heartbreakingly are all now extinct.
“We have it in our power not to let that happen and we’re going to do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t.”
The Sumatran tiger population is so small they are only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia where just 7 percent of its original habitat now remains.
The Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers them critically endangered, one notch above extinction, making them one of the most threatened animal species in the world.
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