Minnesota Zoo’s 3-week-old Amur Tiger cub is growing strong and thriving under round-the-clock care from a crew of dedicated zoo keepers. Born on June 17, the cub was removed from first-time mother Angara because she was not caring for her baby. The cub is being hand-raised by zoo keepers.
Zoo staffers report that the female cub is very active and feeds every four hours, day and night. The cub weighs 5.5 pounds and her eyes are now open. Mother Tigers normally wash their cubs by licking them with their rough, sandpapery tongue. To bathe this cub, zoo keepers gave the cub a bath with the help of water, soap, and a thick towel. The result: a clean and fluffy cub!
The largest of all cats and one of six remaining tiger subspecies, Amur Tigers are a top predator of far eastern Asia. Thick fur and padded paws protect them against the extreme cold and icy winds of winter, while stripes help render them nearly invisible to prey. Amur Tigers are carnivores, eating mostly large mammals such as deer and wild boar. They will travel over extensive forest territories in search of food. With stealth, speed, and sheer strength, Amur Tigers are well-suited to their role as a hunter.
Amur Tigers’ home range, reputation as a threat to livestock and humans, and value to poachers has led to their population decline. Around 1940, wild Amur Tiger populations in Russia were estimated to be as low as 20 or 30 individuals. In 2005, scientists estimated that the population had recovered to 430-500 individuals, but it is thought that wild Amur Tigers have declined since then to about 350. Concerted conservation efforts help protect the remaining endangered tigers from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss.