This Sumatran Tiger cub, born at the San Francisco Zoo on February 10 to mother Leanne, has had its first vet check this week... and it was determined that it’s a girl! To minimally interrupt mother-cub bonding, the exam was done in less than 5 minutes, revealing that the five-week-old is in excellent health and thriving under her mother’s care. And since this is a solo cub and there is no competition for milk, the baby has a nice big belly and weighed in at 8 pounds. Her next exam will take place around April 10, when she is 8 weeks old.
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris) is classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN and is on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The greatest threat to their survival is the destruction of their habitat, followed by poaching. Currently the wild Sumatran Tiger population is estimated at less than 400. As of September 2012, there were 74 Sumatran tigers in captivity at 27 accredited institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in North America.
“Since the exam, we’ve been able to conduct brief socialization sessions with the cub to get her used to her keepers,” said Corinne MacDonald, Curator of Carnivores and Primates at the San Francisco Zoo. “As we learned with Leanne’s last litter, she is an extremely attentive mother and allows us in the same space as the cub as long as she is able to watch from an adjoining enclosure.” In fact, as the cub grows and becomes more stable on its feet, Leanne has started to bring the cub out of the nest box a few times a day while the keepers watch and is therefore showing her trust in the people who care for her.
Read more about these beautiful tigers, and see more pictures of the cub, after the jump: