On this Thanksgiving Day, Zoo Miami is excited and proud to officially announce the birth and provide the first images of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger! In addition to the profound importance that this birth has to the overall conservation efforts regarding these iconic big cats, it is especially meaningful to everyone at Zoo Miami following the recent loss of “Berani,” our adult male Sumatran tiger. In a bittersweet story of the “Circle of Life,” Berani is the father of this beautiful cub which will hopefully be an important addition to his already wonderful legacy.
The cub was born in a secluded den on September 6th where until recently, it remained isolated with its mother and was being observed through closed circuit cameras along with occasional glimpses from zookeepers assigned to the area. Because it is important for mother and cub to have minimal disturbance, zoo veterinarians waited to perform their first exam until it was necessary to administer vaccinations at 8 weeks old. Those procedures were done on November 7th. At that time, in addition to getting vaccinated, the cub received a general overall physical exam, had a microchip implanted for identification and had its sex verified as being a female.
Though the cub has made it through the most critical time of her young life and she appears to be developing well, she will remain in seclusion with her mother for an as of yet undetermined amount of time before making her public debut to ensure they are well established.
This is the third cub for the 11-year-old Leeloo. She previously gave birth to a male cub named, “Satu,” in November of 2015 and then a female cub named, “N’dari,” in 2021. Both of those cubs have since moved to other accredited institutions as part of a carefully managed Species Survival Plan (SSP) developed through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The late Berani is the father of all three of Leeloo’s cubs, his and Leeloo’s only offspring. There are presently only 73 Sumatran tigers in all U.S. zoos.
There are believed to be less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild where they are found in forested areas on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Their biggest threats are habitat loss to palm oil plantations and poaching. They are the smallest subspecies of tiger with males reaching up to 300 pounds and females closer to 200 pounds. Zoo Miami has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to tiger conservation in the wild through its Conservation Fund and will continue to raise money to support those efforts.