White Bengal tiger at the zoo
|Location||Hilo, Hawai?i, United States|
|No. of species||60|
Pana?ewa Rainforest Zoo is located in Hilo, Hawai?i, United States. This small 12-acre (4.9 ha) zoo is the only one in the United States located in a rainforest. It is operated by Hawaii County and receives its funding from the county and from private donations.
The zoo has more than 60 species of animals on display, and the grounds feature more than 40 different species of plants, flowers, and trees.
The most popular attraction of the zoo was a male white Bengal tiger named Namaste' (named after the traditional namaste greeting). Bengal tigers come from India and have been hunted to the brink of extinction, with fewer than 2000 live in the wild. White tigers have not been seen in the wild in over five decades, and the current captive population descend from a number of inbred individuals. Namaste' was born in Las Vegas on September 30, 1998, and arrived in Hilo on April 16, 1999. The zoo had planned to purchase Namaste' from Dirk Arthur, a magician at the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, but when Arthur saw the zoo's 1-acre (4,000 m2) tiger enclosure, he donated Namaste' to the zoo. Namaste died on January 16, 2014.