KNOWSLEY Safari’s two Amur tiger sisters are celebrating International Tiger Day with a new ‘Wizard Ball’, thanks to the generosity of well-wishing visitors.

The specially created ball was bought for Amur tigers Bira and Sinda using loose change dredged from the ‘wishing stream’ running through Knowsley’s Foot Safari.

The two sisters have been having plenty of fun pouncing, bouncing, stalking and batting the ball around their 10,000 square metre reserve at the Safari on Merseyside.

Head of Carnivores at Knowsley Safari, Marc Fox, comments: “We’re hoping the two Amur tiger sisters will support breeding programmes in the near future, helping save this endangered big cat.

“We’re in the process of introducing a male tiger, Kuzma, to one of the sisters, Bira, and we hope he will breed with one of the pair. This is being done slowly, and so far it is going well – so watch this space.

“Enrichment activities like the wizard ball are an essential part of our conservation efforts as they challenge the tigers both mentally and physically.

"They also provide visitors with an educational view of just how athletic, powerful and majestic these animals are.

"The wizard ball is made of tough stuff and is a great gift to help Sinda and Bira celebrate International Tiger Day this year and for many years to come.”

Northwich Guardian:

International Tiger Day has been held annually since 2010 to raise awareness of the decline in the number of wild tigers and celebrate conservation efforts to save them from the brink of extinction.

There are only around 500 Amur tigers left living wild in the Russian Far East.

Numbers of the tigers – and their prey - have been depleted by poaching and their natural habitats are being lost to logging and deforestation.

Knowsley Safari is supporting projects run by the WildCats Conservation Alliance, which aim to stabilise and increase Amur tiger numbers.

Visitors can see Bira and Sinda enjoying their wizard ball on Knowsley Safari’s Tiger Trail.

This provides a unique close-up look of the tigers in their natural Russia-inspired reserve.