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Updated: 10/25/2013 01:19:01AM

3 tiger brothers heading to Jacksonville Zoo

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The Associated Press

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Three tiger brothers are moving from the Palm Beach Zoo to the Jacksonville Zoo as part of a mission of endangered species propagation.

Before Jaya, Bunga and Penari leave West Palm Beach, the zoo will host a ‘Boo at the Zoo’ celebration on Saturday and Sunday. Palm Beach Zoo officials say they’ll be handing out candy that his tiger habitat-friendly.

The tigers will be transferred to Jacksonville on Oct. 28.

“Although these tiger ‘boys’ will surely be missed, we know that it’s time for them to start the next chapter in their lives,” said Nancy Nill, associate curator for the Palm Beach Zoo. “It is time for them to leave the nest, and eventually be paired with females to start their own families.”

Nill was there when the tigers were born in May 2011. Their mother, Berapi, will remain at the Palm Beach Zoo.

“Being able to watch them grow has been rewarding,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity for us to learn more about Malayan tigers in general. Not everyone has the chance to experience what we did here at the Palm Beach Zoo.”

The three tigers have been crowd favorites.

At the Jacksonville Zoo, they’ll be part of a 2.5-acre attraction called “Land of the Tiger” that’s set to open in March. There, they’ll be able to roam safely through the exhibit on a fortified trail system.

“Palm Beach Zoo’s brother tigers will be pioneers, as they have the unique distinction of being the first cats to call Jacksonville Zoo’s landmark ‘Land of the Tiger’ habitat home,” said Dan Maloney, deputy director of conservation and education.

Nill said only two of 14 Malayan tiger pairs produced offspring in 2011. In addition to the Palm Beach Zoo brothers, two cubs were born at the San Diego Zoo.

“You factor in that there are only between 250 and 500 of these tigers in the wild, most likely on the lower end of that range,” Nill said, “and it reminds us tha teach and every Malayan tiger birth is critical to help sustain the population in captivity.”