After a Successful Surgery, Sumatran Tiger Cub is Reunited with Mom

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At Aalborg Zoo in Denmark, a Sumatran Tiger cub was born with an umbilical hernia. (This is a condition where the abdominal lining or part of an abdominal organ protrudes from the belly button area.) It was clear very soon after birth that the cub would need an operation. Fotunately, this little guy was in very good hands.

Veterinarians performed the surgery in October, using a gas to render the cub unconscious. This allowed the cub to wake up immediately after the surgery so that the little Tiger could be reunited with mom as soon as possible. The cub has recovered well and is being raised by mom, growing up strong and healthy. 

Wild Sumatran Tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. A Critically Endangered species, there are an estimated 400 to 600 left in the wild, with habitat loss and poaching posing the greatest threats. The smallest of six tiger subspecies that exist today, a fully grown Sumatran Tiger can weigh up to about 310 pounds (140 kg).

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Photo credits: Aalborg Zoo

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Tiger Cubs Pass Their Swim Test at Smithsonian's National Zoo

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Two Sumatran Tiger cubs took a brisk doggy paddle at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on November 6 and passed their swim reliability test. The male and female cubs, named Bandar and Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah), were born at the zoo on August 5. All cubs born at the zoo's Great Cats exhibit must undergo the swim reliability test to prove that they will be safe on exhibit. Bandar and Sukacita were able to keep their heads above water, navigate to the shallow end of the moat and climb onto dry land. Now that they have passed this critical step, the cubs are ready to explore the habitat with their mother, 4-year-old Damai.

“Tigers are one of the few species of cats that enjoy taking a dip in water,” said Craig Saffoe, curator of great cats. “The moat exists for the safety of our visitors, but it could present an obstacle for young cats. Our job is to make sure that if the cubs venture into the moat, they know how and where to get out. These cubs represent hope for their critically endangered species’ future, so we need to take every precaution to ensure their survival.”

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7 tigerPhoto credits: Smithsonian's National Zoo

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Both cubs took the test under the guard of animal keepers Dell Guglielmo and Marie Magnuson, who gently guided the cubs in the right direction. The shallow end of the moat is approximately 2 ½ feet (.75 m) deep. The side of the moat closest to the public viewing area is about 9 feet deep and is an essential safety barrier that effectively keeps the cats inside their enclosure.

This is the first litter of Tiger cubs born at the zoo since 2006, and the first litter for mom Damai. The cubs were sired by the zoo’s 12-year-old male Tiger, Kavi. Friends of the National Zoo hosted an opportunity to name one of the zoo’s Tiger cubs on the website Charity Buzz. On November 1, the winning bidder elected to name the female cub Sukacita, which means “joy” in Indonesian. The $25,000 donation supports ongoing research and education outreach at the Great Cats exhibit. Keepers selected the male cub’s name, Bandar, in honor of Bandar Lampung—a southern port city in Sumatra.

Starting Monday November 18, keepers will decide on a day-to-day basis whether Sukacita and Bandar will spend time in the yard and for how long they will be out. This decision will be based on weather and how the cubs adjust to being outdoors.

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Tiger Twins Debut at San Antonio Zoo

Sazootigercub3The San Antonio Zoo is celebrating the debut of twin female Sumatran Tiger cubs.  Born on August 3, the sisters are healthy and playful.  The photos chronicle their growth, from their first checkup to playing with pumpkins at Halloween.

Photo Credit:  San Antonio Zoo

The zoo staff waited a few weeks before announcing the birth because the cubs’ mother, Kemala, was a first-time mom.  This gave the new family time to bond in their den – similar to how mothers with newborn cubs behave in the wild – without disturbances from staff and guests.  The cubs’ father, Raguno, has been moved to a separate enclosure since the birth.

Because Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered, these cubs represent an important contribution to the future of this species.  The breeding of Kemala and Raguno was recommended by the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan, which seeks to ensure genetic diversity in zoo-managed populations of threatened species.   

Fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where they are threatened with habitat destruction and poaching for their body parts.

See more photos of the cubs below the fold.

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Cub is Third Generation of Zoo Praha's Tiger "Dynasty"

A Sumatran Tiger cub born at Zoo Praha is getting supplemental feedings from zoo keepers because his mother is not fully caring for him, possibly a result of her tranquilization and evacuation during catastrophic flooding in the Czech Republic in June.

Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

Despite the cub’s rocky start, he is thriving.  Construction crews have halted repair work on the Tigers’ exhibit, which was damaged in the flood, to allow the mother, Surami, to bond peacefully with her cub.

The baby boy is the third generation of a Sumatran Tiger “dynasty” at Zoo Praha:  his father, Falco, was born at the zoo in 2007, and his grandfather, Dustin, was born there in 1994.

Sumatran Tigers are in peril in their native home in Sumatra, Indonesia.  Fewer than 400 of these cats are thought to remain in the wild, clinging to isolated patches of intact rain forest.   



Congratulations Kaitlyn! Two Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at Australia Zoo

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Kaitlyn, a six year-old Sumatran Tiger, safely delivered two healthy cubs on August 22—the first tiger cubs to be born at Australia Zoo in it 43-year history! After going into labour at 11:00 am, she delivered the first cub at 5:07 pm and the second at 5:39 pm. Both Kaitlyn and her new arrivals are healthy and doing well, according to Australia Zoo Head Tiger Supervisor Giles Clark.

"We're so pleased with how well the birth went. Kaitlyn is a fantastic first time mum," Giles says. "The cubs will spend the next few weeks bonding with mum. This will also ensure the cubs gets the colostrum and a head start while they are so small." Visitors to Australia Zoo will have the opportunity to see the cubs in late October, but in the meantime, you can take a peek inside the den with a live tiger cam.

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Photo credits: Australia Zoo

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Sumatran Tiger Cubs are a Long-Awaited Victory at Smithonian's National Zoo


The Smithsonian's National Zoo's family of Sumatran Tigers has grown by two! On Monday, August 5, the Zoo's female tiger, Damai, gave birth to a pair of cubs. Damai has been a great mother to the cubs, who are her first litter. She has been observed grooming and nursing them. Keepers are remotely monitoring Damai and her cubs, allowing the new family time and space to bond.


Damai arrived at the Zoo in over two years ago and Kavi, the father, arrived one year ago. The two were paired as a recommendation from the AZA's Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. Over the course of six months, they were slowly introduced to each other. In June, Damai began gaining weight and exhibiting behaviors that indicated she could be pregnant. On June 21, staff performed an ultrasound and confirmed the pregnancy. “It’s taken more than two years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment,” said Craig Saffoe. “All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs. Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it’s really special to see her become a great mom.”


The cub comes as a victory for the species. Sumatran Tigers are Critically Endangered, with an estimated 400-500 individuals in the wild. In addition to these cubs, there are just 65 Sumatran Tigers living in North American accredited zoos.

Photo Credit Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Naturally-Conceived Tiger Cubs Thrive at Sedgwick County Zoo

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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 

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Zoo Halle Welcomes Litter of Endangered Malayan Tiger Cubs


On June 21, a Malayan Tigress named Cindy gave birth to three healthy cubs at Zoo Halle in Germany. Pictured at four weeks old and as newborns, the cubs have recently opened their bright blue eyes and are starting to take their first uncertain steps. For now, they are living behind-the-scenes for some special bonding time with their mother. In about three to four weeks, the cubs will receive their first vaccinations and venture out onto the grounds in sight of visitors. For now, a Tiger cam has been installed to stream live video to a monitor on exhibit at the zoo. 




Photo Credits: Zoo Halle

This is Cindy's fourth litter, and the seventh litter for the father, Sompon. The two make a very successful breeding pair, a great boon for this particularly endangered subspecies of Tiger.  Especially after the zoo's tragic loss of a Tiger named Girl in January - the first Tiger in the world to live successfully with an artificial hip for over two years - this litter is very exciting news.

See photos of the cubs as newborns after the fold!

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Rare Tiger Cub Duo Thrives at Highland Wildlife Park


A pair of Amur Tiger cubs, born on May 29, are taking their first steps at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Though the cubs are mother Dominika's first litter, she has taken well to being a mother. She has been grooming the cubs and keeping a watchful eye on them as they explore their surroundings. Their father, four year-old Marty, is gradually being introduced to the pair through the wire mesh doors. Keepers are confident that he will not present a risk to the cubs.


The month-old cubs represent a significant birth for the Park. Una Richardson, Head Keeper at the Highland Wildlife Park, comments: "We could not be more delighted that our female Amur Tiger Dominika has given birth to two beautiful cubs. Every animal birth is special, but perhaps none more so than an Amur Tiger birth. Extremely endangered, at one point it was thought only 50 of these big cats still existed in the wild. What makes the birth extra special for us is that Dominika was actually born here at the Highland Wildlife Park in May 2009."


Dominika and Marty were paired through a recommendation by the European Zoo Association's Amur Tiger breeding program. Amur Tigers are Endangered, with only 350-450 individuals remaining in the wild. While the wild population is possibly stable, the species continues to be threatened by poaching and habitat destruction.

Photo Credits; Jan Morse (1), Alex Riddell (2,3,4)

First Look at Banham Zoo's Twin Amur Tiger Cubs


The best things in life are worth waiting for and at the United Kingdom’s Banham Zoo, female Amur Tigress Sveta made her keepers wait longer than expected before giving birth to twins on June 14.




Photo Credit:  Banham Zoo


Keepers had expected Sveta to give birth up to 6 days prior to the day the cubs arrived and had been monitoring closed circuit TV cameras day and night for signs that she might be ready to give birth.

When the cubs finally arrived, keepers were able to watch the birth via the live camera link, giving Sveta complete privacy. 

The twins are making excellent progress.  An external monitor allows zoo guests to view the cubs without any intrusion whatsoever to the new family.

The newborn cubs are very important additions to the European captive breeding program for Amur Tigers. Kuzma, the cubs' father, was born at Banham Zoo in 2008 and was recently ranked as one of the most important males in the breeding program. His genes are poorly represented within the captive population so breeding him was considered a high priority. His mate, Sveta, arrived from Portugal's Lisbon Zoo in 2011 and this is their first successful litter together.

Amur Tigers are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Recent information indicates that there are less than 400 Amur Tigers left in the wilds of far eastern Russia. Captive breeding could be a critical factor for the survival of the world’s largest cat.