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Zoo welcomes Amur tigers Samkha and Vasili

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A couple of cool cats arrived in Winnipeg last week.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo welcomed the addition of two male Amur tiger cubs to the zoo family Friday. The new cats, both born in March 2012, came from the Calgary Zoo on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP) based on their genetics for future breeding.

The tiger cubs are named Samkha and Vasili.

"We’re absolutely thrilled to have Samkha and Vasili here joining our other Amur tigers at the zoo," Assiniboine Park Zoo operations director Dr. Brian Joseph said in a statement. "Not only will they be a delight for our visitors, they will play an important role in the future population of Amur tigers worldwide through the Species Survival Plan."

Samkha means ‘sacred’ in several areas of India, while Vasili means ‘royal’ or ‘kingly’ in Russian. The two cubs are currently in a 30-day quarantine and will be available for public viewing at a later date.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is nearing completion of its new 26,000 square foot tiger habitat and expects the cubs to move into the new exhibit once their quarantine period ends.

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