Bridgeport zoo part of effort to save species

BRIDGEPORT — Traveling to look for love is no longer a possibility for many people in these times of pandemic-induced lockdown. But, apparently, it’s still an option for tigers.



a man holding a cat in front of a fence: Animal care specialist Chris Baker and Zeya, one of two Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020. Zeya is scheduled to leave the zoo Tuesday to be moved to another facility for breeding purposes.


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Animal care specialist Chris Baker and Zeya, one of two Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020. Zeya is scheduled to leave the zoo Tuesday to be moved to another facility for breeding purposes.


Zeya, one of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s two Amur tigers, was scheduled to spend her last day at the zoo Monday before being moved to another facility Tuesday for breeding purposes. Beardsley Director Gregg Dancho couldn’t say where Zeya was moving, because the other zoo hasn’t released permission to share that information.



a close up of a cage at a zoo: Zeya, one of two Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020. Zeya is scheduled to leave the zoo Tuesday to be moved to another facility for breeding purposes.


© Provided by Connecticut Post

Zeya, one of two Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020. Zeya is scheduled to leave the zoo Tuesday to be moved to another facility for breeding purposes.


The big move is part of a national program to help preserve critically endangered species, largely through breeding.



a man standing in front of a tiger: Zoo director Gregg Dancho watches Zeya, one of the Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020.


© Provided by Connecticut Post

Zoo director Gregg Dancho watches Zeya, one of the Amur tigers at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport, Conn. Sept. 29, 2020.


“We’re trying to keep these animals on the planet,” Dancho said.

Beardsley is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in its Species Survival Plan program, which helps conserve and protect animal populations. The program matches female and male tigers using a variety of criteria, including age and genetic information.

“Basically, it’s computer dating,” Dancho explained.

Tigers in general and Amur tigers in particular are critically endangered species. Due to habitat loss, poaching and other issues, four of nine subspecies of tiger have disappeared from the wild in just the