Three endangered Sumatran tigers were born this week at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. The cubs appear to be healthy and are nursing from the mother said, Dr. Karen Goodrowe Beck, the zoo’s general curator.
Jaya the mother gave birth to the 3 babies between 2.30am and 4.00am. Jaya and the young cubs are receiving round the clock video monitoring to ensure they are receiving milk and nurturing from her. They are living in the behind the scenes den at the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
In a few days the keepers will separate the cubs and the vets will be able to assess their health and discover what the genders of them are. Beck said that the cubs will need time with few disruptions so she can form a bond with the cubs.
Even with these cubs there are only 79 Sumatran tigers living in North American zoos. Even in the wild only 300 of these critically endangered tigers are remaining on Sumatra. Numbers have dwindled in the wild as a side effect of habitat loss and poaching.
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is home to 5 of the Sumatran tigers in the captive population. This includes Jay and Malosi the parents and the 3 cubs. These live alongside the Malayan tiger, Berani. Jay has had 4 lots of cubs before and Malosi has had 2 meaning they are experienced parents.
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium participate in saving this species through breeding them in captivity as part of the Association of Zoos and Aqariums Species Survival Plan. Beck is the vice chair of the program which organises the breeding of tigers to maximise genetic diversity. They are also contributing funds to anti-poaching efforts throughout Sumatra.
Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium