In remarkable closed-circuit television footage, Chester Zoo’s female Sumatran Tiger Kirana gives birth to the first of two cubs on June 2. The cub appears about 30 seconds into the video.
Kirana’s mate, six-year-old Fabi, does not participate in the birth at all, and in fact walks away during the event.
The gender of the two healthy cubs is not yet known. They will spend several weeks behind the scenes with seven-year-old Kirana.
This is the second litter for Kirana, who also gave birth to sisters Nila and Tila in 2011. Both of those cubs have moved to other European zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program aimed at increasing genetic diversity among these endangered cats.
Only about 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Zoo breeding programs could prove vital to the survival of this species, which is at great risk from habitat loss and poaching.
See more photos below the fold.