Three endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs, at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, need names!
Zoo staff members are eager to have names for the tiny tiger triplets and are conducting a public vote on a slate of names for the 3-week-old cubs. In the spirit of the season, voting begins today!
The zoo is also releasing the tiger cubs’ first official photos, taken during a well-cub check by staff veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and staff biologist Christy Webster.
The three female cubs, born Oct. 8, are healthy and thriving. They are living behind the scenes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary with their mother, ‘Jaya’, who is very attentive to their needs. The cubs, who weighed between 2.5 and 3 pounds each at birth, now weigh in at 7.67, 7.80 and 8.31 pounds.
There is no date set for their public debut, but it will likely occur in just over a month when the cubs have grown a bit more and are not quite as wobbly on their legs. The new family is also enjoying additional bonding time. Cool outdoor temperatures could also play a role in when the tiny tigers come out to meet the public.
Members of the public may vote on names, which Asian Forest Sanctuary staff biologists chose from Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language. The cubs will receive the top three names. Voting runs through Nov. 13 and the names will be announced Nov. 14.
Once the votes are tallied, zookeepers will decide which name best fits which cub based on their personalities and appearances.
“The birth of the three cubs also presents a rich opportunity for the public to learn more about Sumatran Tigers, which are a critically endangered species,” Goodrowe Beck said. “Every one of these tigers is precious. We strongly want tiger species to survive so they will be there for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to see and appreciate.”
The cubs’ birth was part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers. Goodrowe Beck coordinates the SSP for North America.
Only about 300 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their numbers are dramatically dwindling due to poaching and habitat destruction, primarily for the growth of oil palms. There are just 80 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos and approximately 400 in zoos worldwide.
The three cubs bring the total number of tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to nine. In addition to ‘Jaya’ and her litter, the zoo is home to Sumatran Tigers ‘Malosi’ (the cubs’ father), ‘Bima’, ‘Dumai’ and ‘Kali’. Malayan tiger ‘Berani’ also lives in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary. The tigers rotate on and off a number of exhibits.
More great photos below the fold!