Two male Malayan Tigers were born, November 16th, at Alexandria Zoo, in Louisiana. The two healthy baby boys were born to 15-year-old father, ‘Jammu’, and 6-year-old mother, ‘Yatti’.
After an approximately 104-day gestation period, the cubs were born blind, and weighed about 2 to 3 pounds. Although mother, Yatti, is doing well, she was not providing adequate care for the cubs, after their birth. Zoo keepers made the decision to hand raise the cubs, in order to insure they were provided with the proper feeding and care they needed to survive. The cubs will begin to wean at about six weeks. Once they are a bit older and their personalities begin to develop, the Zoo will also name the cubs.
Alexandria Zoo participates in the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). This program works to maintain sustainable, genetically diverse tiger populations and supports research on tiger biology and care. The program also raises awareness about the plight of tigers and funding for their conservation.
With less than 500 Malayan Tigers remaining in the wild, each Malayan Tiger birth is a significant one. Approximately 60 Malayan Tigers are housed at 27 North American institutions. The SSP's target population size is 150. Alexandria Zoo worked cooperatively with the SSP coordinator to make the decision to hand-raise the cubs.
The Tiger SSP coordinators will determine how long the cubs will stay at Alexandria Zoo and what institution(s) they will be moved to. The cubs could potentially stay at Alexandria Zoo for up to two years.
Malayan Tigers are native to the tropical forests of peninsular Malaysia. Habitat loss and poaching of both the tigers and their prey are the greatest threats the species faces.
All tigers are extremely endangered and three subspecies have already become extinct.
More video and photos below the fold!