The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo roared with new activity last week as three Amur Tiger cubs born in April made their public debut. The cubs, one male and two females, are vitally important to the future of wild Tigers: in the last 100 years, the global wild Tiger population has plummeted 97 percent. Only about 3,200 Tigers remain in the wild, with only 1,000 breeding females. Amur Tigers, also known as Siberian Tigers, are among the rarest big cats on Earth.
The cubs were born to mother Katharina and father Sasha. These tigers were bred by recommendation of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic and demographic stability of the tiger population in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure its long-term viability of the species.
The cubs each weighed an estimated two-and-a-half to three pounds at birth and now weigh approximately 45 pounds. Katharina is 13 years old, and her last litter of cubs was born in May 2010. Sasha is 15 years old, and this is his first litter.
Amur Tigers are found in the Russian Far East and northeastern China. Male Amur Tigers are the world’s largest cat and can grow to weigh 650 pounds.
Tigers are in trouble. Once found in 30 countries across vast areas of Asia, tigers are now just found in scattered fragments across 10 countries.