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Little Rock Zoo Wishes Malayan Tiger Farewell and Good Luck on His New Journey

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2024

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (January 16, 2024) - Jaya, the Little Rock Zoo’s male Malayan tiger, and father to the Zoo’s tiger cubs, has moved to a new home in Manhattan, KS, at Sunset Zoological Park. Jaya moves to Kansas with the hope of becoming a father once again. This move comes as a result of the tiger species survival program (SSP) recommendation. The SSP Program, developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), helps to ensure the survival of select species in zoos and aquariums, which are either threatened or endangered in the wild.

Jaya had been a family member of the Little Rock Zoo since Feb. 2022. It didn’t take long for Zoo staff, keepers, volunteers and guests to begin to admire his beauty and enjoy watching him.

He was placed next door to Asmara when he first moved here from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Fla. He and Asmara quickly became companions in April 2022 and later became parents to Kae, Sundari, and Zoya in Aug. 2022. Jaya proved to be a great father to his three daughters. As they grew older, they shared a fence line with him. Jaya was inquisitive with them and interactions between him and his daughters were positive. The cubs were often seen rubbing heads with him- a sign of their level of comfort.

Debbie Thompson, the Curator for carnivores at the Little Rock Zoo said of his personality, “Jaya is very laid-back and is a mellow cat. Male tigers can be high strung, but he was always inquisitive and not easily bothered.”

Jaya began his journey to his new Kansas home at Sunset Zoological Park on January 7. He will be sorely missed at the Zoo by Zoo staff, members, and guests. The entire Little Rock Zoo family wishes him well on this next phase.

“We are all sad to see Jaya go. He is a fiercely handsome tiger and stunning example his species. However, we all know and agree that this is the absolute correct decision.” noted Susan Altrui, Little Rock Zoo Director. “As a member of the AZA and specifically working in the tiger SSP, we are glad to do our part to help conserve this special species for many generations to come,” Altrui added.

About the Zoo:

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit For more information on Little Rock Zoo, visit or call 501-661-7200.

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