Deputy Animal Manager and Senior Big Cat Keeper Caz Lorek organised a birthday celebration with a difference recently.

“Last week we celebrated Aysha 20th birthday (2nd August). TWENTY is an incredible age for a tiger as life expectancy in the wild would be limited to 12 or 13 years. We wanted to make it special for her, so myself and my colleague Sandra decided to make her a birthday cake fit for a tiger. Along with our enrichment box cake, she also enjoyed an edible variety made up of a whole chicken and pork and beef mince – she immediately picked up the whole chicken and ran off with it!”

Aysha has been with us at the Isle of Wight Zoo since she was only a few weeks old. Rejected from birth by her mother at Dublin Zoo, Aysha was hand raised predominantly by the Zoo’s Founder Charlotte Corney. “Since then she has spent many happy years with us, and is the friendliest tiger you will ever know. She is always happy to greet you with lots of chuffs” (a friendly greeting call) says Caz.

Aysha loves nothing more than a brush through the fence by her keepers. Contrary to public opinion tigers often like swimming, and Aysha certainly loves water going for a swim when possible and playing with her sprinkler when not – during this heat wave the sprinkler is a must!!

If you would like to meet the beautiful Aysha, you can book a Big Cat Experience which is an exciting opportunity to join keepers as they take you on a private tour behind the scenes. More information can be found on the zoos Animal Experiences page.

Photo: Credit Liza Lockyer