HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The Hattiesburg Zoo welcomed a new Malayan Tiger.

Bunga, which means Big Boy, was the largest cub born in his litter. He is 12-years-old and comes to the Hattiesburg Zoo from the ABQ Biopark Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Malayan tigers are native to the Peninsular Malaysia and are a critically endangered species.

“While Malayan tigers typically live to be 18 to 22 years of age in a Zoo environment, we recognize the fact that Bunga is an older tiger,” said Kristen Moore, Animal Curator for the Hattiesburg Zoo. “We are happy to be a ‘retigerment home’ for Bunga and know that he will be well cared for by our staff and much loved by our guests who will learn more about the habits and characteristics of Malayan tigers from him.”

Bunga is the first Malayan tiger to reside at the Hattiesburg Zoo.

Kipling, who died from age-related health issues in May 2023, was a Sumatran tiger. Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger species with a dark orange coat while the Malayan tiger is bigger with a lighter orange coat.

“With Malayan tigers being critically endangered, we hope our guests will understand the importance of the preservation and growth of this species to our planet,” said Jeremy Cumpton, Director of Conservation, Education and Wildlife at the Hattiesburg Zoo. Because of the loss of natural forest and the poaching of the Malayan tiger the population has dwindled.

Upon his arrival to the Hattiesburg Zoo, Bunga was introduced to his holding area and is becoming familiar with his animal care team. He is expected to be in his outdoor habitat over the weekend for guests to visit.