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SLO County tiger to celebrate milestone birthday on Saturday

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Posted at 4:23 PM, Apr 27, 2023

SLO County’s largest cat is celebrating a massive milestone.

Menderu, a Malayan tiger, is celebrating his 15th birthday Saturday, April 29 at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero.

The birthday celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Menderu receiving his birthday present at 11:30 a.m. The specifics surrounding the tiger’s gift remain wrapped in secrecy.

Charles Paddock Zoo’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk at the front entrance to the zoo. Celebration festivities are included with a general admission ticket.

Refreshments and strollers are available.

Tickets prices are as follows:

  • Adults, 13+: $12
  • Seniors, 65+: $10
  • Children, 5-12: $8
  • Children, 3-4: $5
  • Kids, 2 and under are free

“Menderu is an active cat who enjoys exploring his habitat and playing with some of his favorite enrichment items, such as an extra-large ‘boomer ball,’” according to the Charles Paddock Zoo website.

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Malayan tigers can live for 15 to 20 years in their natural habitat.

There are over 200 species of animals on the 5-acre property, including red pandas, lemurs and meerkats, as well as birds, reptiles and insects.

Menderu, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008 and transferred to Charles Paddock in 2009, is one of fewer than 70 Malayan tigers in institutions across North America, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society Newsroom.

Malayan tigers live for around 15 to 20 years in the wild and can live for longer in captivity, assuming adequate care and living conditions.

Fewer than 150 Malayan tigers remain in the wild, according to a City of Atascadero news release, down from an estimated 3,000 in the 1950s. The tigers inhabit the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula, whose habitat has shrunk due to rapid development, expansion of agriculture and widespread hunting, according to the release.

They are listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

You can learn more about the Charles Paddock Zoo on their website.