Fans at the San Francisco Zoo were finally able to see the zoo’s eight-week-old Sumatran Tiger cub for the first time when she explored her outdoor exhibit on Friday, April 12.
You met this unnamed female cub on the pages of ZooBorns after her first vet check-up, but since her birth on February 10, the little cub has been denned up with her mother Leanne. Last week, the San Francisco Zoo staff determined that the 14-pound cub was strong enough to venture into her outdoor enclosure. On Wednesday morning, the staff supervised a trial run for Leanne and her cub. A very attentive mother, Leanne immediately carried her cub to a safe, protected area in the exhibit, but the two were soon frolicking and playing. The cub eventually allowed Leanne to lead her up the exhibit’s stairs several times for practice, proving that Leanne is a seasoned mother who knows what’s best for her cub.
“Providing the cub the opportunity to explore the outside world is a significant step in her development,” says Curator of Carnivores and Primates Corinne MacDonald. “The cub will build up her strength and confidence watching her mother, Leanne, and she’ll learn from her while navigating her new environment. We are thrilled to finally be able to show our Tiger cub off outside to all of her fans!”
The Sumatran Tiger is critically endangered, with fewer than 400 individuals remaining in the wilds of Sumatra. As the smallest of the remaining Tiger subspecies, the Sumatran Tiger is well suited for life in the deep jungle. The greatest threat to survival is destruction of habitat, followed by poaching.
See more photos of Leanne and her cub below the fold.