It's cool for (big) cats taking a dip at Longleat
Updated 2:24pm Wednesday 30th July 2014 in News
Longleat Safari & Adventure Park’s quartet of Amur tigers are making the most of their outdoor pool as temperatures continue to soar.
The Wiltshire wildlife attraction is home to four Amur tigers; male Turlough and three females Svetli, Shouri and Soundari.
The Amur tiger is the largest of all the big cats and is native to the far east of Russia.
“They really love playing in the water,” said Longleat’s John Cracknell.
“Amur tigers are actually named after a river which flows through their native territory in Russia, and it’s easy to see why.
“We’ve provided them with various objects to play with and they are having a ball diving in and generally getting as wet as possible.”
In the 1940s the tigers had nearly died out, with only around 40 left in the wild.
Although they are still listed as critically endangered, wildlife experts believe the current population of around 500 individuals is the highest for a century.
Fully grown adults can weigh up to 160kg (350lb) and measure more than two metres in length.
But it’s not just the tigers who are enjoying a dip to escape the hot weather - tapirs Eddie, Jessie and Tallulah are also making the most of their personal pool.
Like elephants, tapirs have flexible elongated snouts which they use both to forage for food and as a primitive ‘snorkel’ when they’re in the water enabling them to remain submerged for several minutes.
South America’s largest mammal, the tapir’s closest relatives are the horse and the rhinoceros and they have remained virtually unchanged for more than 20 million years.
And Longleat’s newest arrival - a Californian sea lion pup - is making the most of the hot spell and indulging in a spot of sunbathing.