Three Tiger cubs born April 21 at theColumbus Zoo & Aquarium bring hope to the critically endangered Amur Tiger population.
Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
The trio, all males, each weighed about 2.5 pounds at birth. They are the first litter for female Irisa. Zoo staff spent the first day closely monitoring Irisa and her newborns via a remote camera system. When it became clear that Irisa was not nursing her cubs, the zoo staff decided to hand-rear these important youngsters.
There are only about 400 Amur Tigers (formerly called Siberian Tigers) remaining in Russia’s Far East, making each zoo-born cub extremely important to the genetic diversity of the species. The wild population once dipped as low as 40 animals in the 1940s, but improved law enforcement and conservation programs have boosted the population in recent decades. Poaching continues to be the number one threat to these magnificent cats, which are the largest of the six surviving Tiger subspecies. Three Tiger subspecies have gone extinct in the last 100 years.
The Columbus Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan for Amur Tigers, which aims to sustain a genetically healthy population of these rare cats.