Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Michigan City Washington Park Zoo celebrates Year of the Tiger with a new tiger arrival

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The Washington Park Zoo is proud to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger by announcing the arrival of a new white tiger cub. On the weekend of January 23, Zoo Director Johnny Martinez, General Curator Elizabeth Emerick and Zoo Keeper Julia Bauer drove to Monocqua, Wisconsin to acquire a 10 day old female white tiger cub for the Washington Park Zoo.

The white cub, named Zusha, was made available through the friendship and generosity of Judy and Duane Domaszek, owners of Wildwood Wildlife Park, where Zusha was born January 14, 2010 in captivity.

Zusha is placed at the Washington Park Zoo on a display/breeding loan arrangement. This is a 5 year loan arrangement that can be renewed every five years if agreed on by both parties. The white tiger cub remains the property of Wildwood Wildlife Park during her stay in Michigan City.

Zusha is being raised and bottle fed by General Curator, Elizabeth Emerick. Zusha is fed every three hours, up to seven feedings each day. Zusha accompanies Elizabeth back and forth to work, resting in the Animal Clinic while Elizabeth performs her zoo duties. As Zusha grows older she will reside in the Lion House which is to be renovated in 2010. Zusha may have the opportunity to eventually be paired with a white gene carrying male.

Zusha was the only cub born in the litter. Her father, Shertan, is a white tiger, and her mother, Sheba, is an orange tiger. Bengal tigers are the only tiger species that are white gene carriers (heterozygotes). White tigers are not albinos; they have bright blue eyes and are referred to as sports.

White tigers are rare in the wild, but quite common in larger zoos. In the state of Indiana out of five major zoos, only South Bend and now Michigan City have a white tiger.

The first white tiger in captivity was Mohan who was born in India in 1951. A group of food gatherers noticed a white cub among orange litter mates and reported this to the Maharaja who sent them out to collect this tiger.

The first captive birth of white tigers was on October 30, 1958 in India when Mohan was bred to his orange daughter producing 1 male and 3 female all white cubs. One of these white females was named Mohini, and on December 5, 1960 German-American billionaire John Kluge purchased Mohini and donated her to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. as a gift to the children of America.

The Washington Park Zoo will open April 1 and hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with entrance gates closing at 4:00 p.m.

For more information, call the Washington Park Zoo at 219-873-1510 or visit


Posted 3/18/2010




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