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Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas celebrated the birth of two Amur Tiger cubs on July 6! The cubs are believed to be a male and female, and so far are healthy and thriving. The cubs opened their eyes for the first time at 10 days old. According to their checkup at 15 days old, the cubs are growing in leaps and bounds. The female cub weighed three pounds at birth and had more than doubled her weight, weighing in at seven pounds. The male cub was slightly smaller, born at just under three pounds and weighing about six pounds at 15 days.

The birth of the two cubs is especially uplifting news for the zoo. Last year, two female Amur Tigers at Sedgwick County Zoo were artificially inseminated. One cub was born, but sadly did not survive. This year's cubs were conceived naturally by mother Talali, eight years old, and father Ivan, four years old. 

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Photo credits: Sedwick County Zoo 

See and learn more after the fold!

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The cubs will remain off exhibit for privacy and bonding time while mom them. They may be on display later this fall, but that has yet to be determined. Visitors to the zoo can see the Tigers on a live-feed on display in the Slawson Family Tiger Trek building. 

Amur Tigers, also known as Siberian Tigers, are a subspecies found primarily in Russia. They are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN, the number of Amur Tigers in the wild dipped to as low as 20 to 30 individuals in the 1930s, due to excessive hunting. Although numbers are still precariously low, with estimates currently under 400 wild individuals, the extent of their recovery is extraordinary. After such a dramatic reduction, the species still faces the challenge of a limited gene pool; in other words, the degree of inbreeding is high. Breeding of captive Amur Tigers in zoos can help to support wild populations by producing healthy Tigers with a good mix of genes.