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Sumatran tiger Asim arrives at London Zoo

Sumatran tiger Asim arrives at London Zoo

It says staff are "devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events".

The meeting that began cautiously, quickly turned into an aggressive interaction.

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species, and the London Zoo is trying to help save the majestic cats through a breeding program.

Trained staff eventually managed to secure Asim in a separate paddock in order for vets to safely attend to Melati, but they confirmed that she had died in the attack.

Melati, 10, was mauled to death by Asim, seven, when keepers allowed the pair to meet for the first time. But after they were put together for the first time in the zoo's 2,500 sq m Tiger Territory enclosure, which replicates their natural Indonesian habitat, Asim became aggressive.

'Asim is a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life - we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our attractive Melati'.

"Asim is a handsome, confident cat who is known for being very affectionate with the ladies in his life - we're hoping he'll be the ideal mate for our attractive Melati", she said, according to Sky News.

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The zoo says keepers intervened with loud noises, flares and alarms but were too late to save Melati.

After witnessing sufficient evidence and "obvious positive signs", the zoo felt comfortable enough to open the adjoining door and introduce the two predators on Friday morning.

Asim, who is seven years old, was brought in from Denmark on 29 January, with Jae Jae heading to a French park.

Big-cat introductions can be perilous, even with diligent preparation, the zoo said.

The zoo has been forced to shut down its tiger exhibit for the time being as it deals with the aftermath of the incident.

Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies and are distinguished by heavy black stripes on their orange coats, according to wildlife conservation non-profit WWF. It is estimated that less than 400 of the species remain in the wild today.

Staff at the zoo are now focused on caring for Asim following the tragic event.