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The Tiger Forest At The Indianapolis Zoo

The Amur Tiger Forest exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo was extensively renovated to better meet the needs of both the Amur Tigers and their visitors.  The new space was designed to provide a larger, improved and more natural habitat for the big cats while offering an enhanced learning experience for zoo visitors.  The renovated enclosure was designed to provide multiple viewing opportunities for the public, including three large plate glass windows in the viewing structure.  Silver Creek Engineering provided the site design and designed all structural components.


Site Design Components

Survey of existing exhibit

Review/Approval coordination with municipal agencies

Site design, including site grading plan, drainage design, and erosion control

Structural Design Components for Viewing Structure

Roof framing system
Heavy timber beam framing supporting wood purlins 
and tongue and groove wood decking
Heavy timber posts embedded in concrete foundations to resist wind and seismic lateral loads
Custom designed and fabricated metal connections, including bolted knife plates between

beams and posts

Modifications to Existing Aviary Mesh
Performed analysis to determine forces in the catenary cables for the new layout
Designed special connections for cables to the new viewing structure

Shotcrete Rockwork and Pool slab

The Amur Tiger

Amur tigers are the biggest cats in the world.  An adult male may stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder, grow up to 11 feet long and weigh over 600 pounds. 


Amurs have fewer, paler stripes than other tigers.  Every tiger has a unique pattern of stripes, much like fingerprints. Amur tigers have manes and thick fur to help them stay warm in cold climates.    

Cubs begin to hunt for themselves at about 18 months of age but they stay with their mothers until they are two or three years old.  

Portrait of Tiger in its natural habitat

Formerly known as the Siberian tiger, the Amur tiger was renamed when its range was reduced and no longer included Siberia.  The reduction in habitable range is one of the reasons that the Amur has become  endangered.  

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