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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 15:02 GMT
Purr-fume to get tigers turned on
Sumatran tiger biting scented heart
The perfume hearts are to stimulate the tigers
Designer perfume is being used to spice up the love lives of two endangered Sumatran tigers at London Zoo.

Keepers at the Regent's Park attraction hope to get Raika and Lumpur in the mood for love by dousing wooden hearts in a high street scent.

The hearts will stimulate the tigers' keen sense of smell and their natural behaviour to mark their territory by rubbing against the smelly objects.

There are only thought to be about 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

Curator of mammals at the zoo Malcolm Fitzpatrick explained that the female, Raika, had had reproductive problems but that she was beginning to cycle again.

These strong smells increase the amount of time they spend exploring their territory and increases their social interaction
Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Curator of Mammals

"She may reproduce naturally, you never know, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

"They are genetically endangered, so are quite vulnerable, so we would really like these two to breed."

Mr Fitzpatrick said they used a range of strong smells, from keepers' Wellington boots to herbs and perfumes, to stimulate the tigers.

Favourite scent

"These strong smells increase the amount of time they spend exploring their territory and increases their social interaction."

As the smallest of the tiger species, Sumatran tigers are only found on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Raika is eleven-years-old and arrived at the zoo in 1997 from Berlin Zoo while nine-year-old Lumper came from the Parc Zoologique d' Amneville in 1999.

Both are part of a European breeding programme.

Keepers said Calvin Klein's Obsession perfume had proved to be the tigers' favourite scent after testing out various strong smells.

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