SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Dickerson Park Zoo is welcoming what zookeepers are calling a “very special tiger.” Jango is a seven-year-old Malayan tiger that has undergone a procedure to help protect his species.

The Dickerson Park Zoo says Jango arrived in early November. When he recently received his quarantine exam from Dickerson Park Zoo veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Zec, Jango’s DNA was collected in order to save his genetic material for potential use in the future. This was in cooperation with part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

This image shows “Dr. Steph” and Jango during his recent procedure. COURTESY: Dickerson Park Zoo

A news release from the Dickerson Park Zoo states: “Jango is a very special tiger,” said Shelley Sandmaier, post-doctoral research fellow, Reproductive Sciences at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. “He currently ranks as the number one most genetically valuable male in the Malayan tiger population.”

Shelly Sandmaier examines samples of Jango’s DNA. COURTESY: Dickerson Park Zoo

Zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, share in the mission to save species from extinction. The Malayan tiger population is estimated to be fewer than 200 tigers, making the efforts to bank Jango’s DNA essential to the future of tigers.

“As we improve upon artificial reproductive technologies in big cats, his sperm may be used for artificial insemination procedures, ensuring his genetics can still be represented in the future. Jango now has the potential to contribute to the Malayan tiger population decades from now,” Sandmaier shared in a news release from Dickerson Park Zoo.

This image shows what it was like transporting Jango, the Malayan tiger to the hospital. COURTESY: Dickerson Park Zoo

Currently, Jango is off exhibit from the public. He is spending time adjusting to his new caregivers as well as slowly starting the introduction process of meeting Berisi, the female tiger.