In 2017, Zoo member Nancy Sweet fell in love…with Vera, a rambunctious tiger cub born at the Zoo on April 26, 2017. Nancy visited Vera often, learning more about the Tiger Species Survival Plan and the Zoo’s work to maximize genetic diversity of tiger in human care while watching Vera play and grow.
As Nancy’s connection to Vera grew, so did her connection to the Zoo and the Foundation. She donated to the Zoo’s Annual Fund and to Tiger Enrichment to help pay for Vera’s toys. She became a charter member of the Foundation’s new President’s Club and made a large gift to fund the creation of a giant tiger sculpture, to be revealed in the new tiger viewing area by summer 2020.
Nancy’s deep love for Vera continues even though in the Fall of 2019 Vera moved to Omaha, where in time she will hopefully have cubs of her own. While no cub could ever replace Vera in Nancy’s heart, the Minnesota Zoo’s Tiger Keepers are already starting on the Tiger SSP’s breeding recommendations for 2020. With luck there will soon be new tiger cubs for Nancy to fall in love with.
If you spy Nancy at the Tiger Lair during your next Zoo visit, please tell her thank you for her generous support of the Minnesota Zoo and our tigers, and remember what a little love can grow into!