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Jacksonville Zoo Set to Debut Sumatran Tiger Cub

1_Cub peeking out of her den Credit - John Reed

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ (JZG) first Tiger cub in 35 years will make her public debut on Saturday, February 13 at 10:00 a.m.

The 18-pound Sumatran Tiger cub will be on exhibit for the first time in JZG’s ‘Land of the Tiger’. The award-winning exhibit features a fortified trail system for her to explore that spans the length of two football fields—plenty of choices for the adventurous cub.  

“It has been so much fun watching our Tiger cub grow and play, and I can’t wait to share her with our visitors,” said Elana Kopel, Senior Mammal Keeper at JZG. “It is my hope that when they see her, it inspires them to support the conservation of these incredible, endangered animals.”

2_Cub sees a bug Credit - John Reed

3_Cub getting used to her surroundings in preparation for her debut Credit - John ReedPhoto Credits: John Reed

This will be an exciting time for the cub, allowing her the first opportunity to explore her new surroundings with her feline curiosity. She has spent the first few months of her life in a den, off-exhibit, to encourage and strengthen the loving bond with her mother, Dorcas. Her impressive new home provides a fully immersive experience for both guests and animals, and JZG can’t wait to introduce the Jacksonville community to this adorable youngster.

The Zoo will also announce the cub’s name, given by a generous donor, when she makes her exhibit debut.

The cub was born in the early morning hours of November 19. She is the first Tiger born at JZG in 35 years and was the fifth Sumatran Tiger born in the U.S. in 2015. First-time mother Dorcas (also known as Lucy) is 4-years-old, and first-time dad, Berani, is 14-years-old.

Sumatran Tigers are the smallest of the six subspecies in existence today and are only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Originally, nine Tiger subspecies were found in parts of Asia but three have become extinct in the 20th century. Less than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain the wild. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

To combat extinction of Tigers in the wild, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports a Wildlife Protection Unit on the island of Sumatra. The unit patrols the national forest, removing traps and snares that harm Sumatran Tigers and their prey.

The lively cub is growing bigger each day and still has items on her wish list. Enrichment items like wind chimes, Boomer balls and bungee cords are an integral part of her daily care and enhance her well being. These toys can be purchased by anyone and shipped directly to the Zoo via JZG’s Amazon Wish List: www.jacksonvillezoo.org/wishlist.