Why does a captive tigress kill her mate?

Why does a captive tigress kill her mate? At a Texas zoo in El Paso a female Malayan tiger, Seri, killed her mate, Wzui, who we are told had a pleasant personality. We are told that Wuzi liked another tigress as well as Seri. Both Seri and Wuzi were on loan from other zoos. The reason given by the authorities is that Seri was jealous of the other female. Why then did she kill the her male mate?

There is no record of a tigress killing her mate in the reference works that I have.

However, we are told that during times of social flux serious fights may occur between females. Also tiger forced together unnaturally are more likely to be stresses and fight.

Of course the usual scenario is male tigers fighting over a female. Or male tigers fighting sometimes to the death over territory. This usually occurs when a young male is looking for his own home range and there is not enough space. This can happen on small tiger reserves.

Neither of these situations existed in this case. My personal feelings are that this is not a case of jealousy. There is doubt that a tiger can feel jealous and if so the logical or instinctive action would be to attack the intruding tigress not her mate.

It seems to me that stresses built up because of the translocation of these tigers to a new place and the fact that they were unable to adapt to extreme limited space. Tigers in the wild commonly require up to 51 square kilometres for females and males can have ranges that are 15 times bigger (up to 765 square kilometres!). Think what a small enclosure feels like. The stresses in my opinion can lead to aggression, hitting out at the nearest.


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