Since opening its doors in 1978, the Minnesota Zoo has been a champion of tiger conservation – supporting efforts in the wild and playing a prominent role in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Amur tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP).
On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022, four Amur tiger cubs were born at the Minnesota Zoo under the watchful eye of the Zoo’s Animal Care and Health teams. Sadly, one cub did not survive, which is not uncommon in litters this size; however, the other three cubs quickly and successfully bonded with their mother, Sundari, or Dari for short.
“These cubs represent a major, positive step forward in our efforts to support the global population of Amur tigers,” said Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley. “Having three thriving cubs, and a mother who is successfully raising them, is a true testament to the care and dedication provided by our incredible team of zookeepers and veterinary staff.”
At about 15 weeks old, the three Amur tiger cubs born at the Minnesota Zoo have been playing and exploring each day in their Tiger Lair habitat – and now they have new names to celebrate!
Over the past week, the Zoo asked the community to help name one of the male cubs, with staff and other Zoo stakeholders helping name the other two cubs. More than 20,000 votes came in from the public!
The winning name, selected by The Minnesota Zoo community, is Vostok! Names selected for the other two cubs are Yana (female) and Brosno (male).
When looking at naming options for animals at the Zoo, officials try to choose names that are representative of the region and culture of the species’ native habitat in the wild. Amur tigers are native to eastern Asia, where their range mostly consists of temperate forests along the Amur River. The three selected names relate back to geography and bodies of water – Vostok and Brosno reference lakes and Yana references a river.
Courtesy of Minnesota Zoo, ZooBorns has compiled four informative “Tiger Chats” chronicling the cubs’ development from the perspectives of keepers, vets and zoologists.
Zookeeper Jess tells us about the care keepers have been providing to Dari and the cubs behind the scenes.
Dr. Rivas tells us more about how the team plans for births and the milestones they monitor.
Zookeeper Maggie tells us how the team slowly introduces cubs to water.
Zoologist Trista tells us more about the Amur tiger SSP.