The Minnesota Zoo is hand raising a brand new bundle of joy. On June 17, two endangered Amur Tiger cubs were born to first-time mother Angara and father Molniy after a 105 day gestation period. After observing the mother with her cubs overnight, Zoo officials decided to pull the babies for hand-rearing. Angara wasn't displaying the quality of maternal care required to successfully raise the cubs. During the critical first days under round the clock human care, the smaller of the two cubs passed away. About two thirds of Amur Tiger cubs survive the first 30 days of life.
The Amur Tiger’s home range, reputation as a threat to livestock and humans, and value to poachers has led to its population decline. Around 1940, the wild Amur Tiger population in Russia was estimated to be as low as 20 or 30. 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 these remaining endangered Tigers from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss.