A rare Sumatran tiger gave birth on Monday to three healthy cubs at Medan Zoo on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The government is calling the birth a breakthrough in the effort to save this critically endangered species.
“Their genders have not been determined because they are still under their mother’s supervision,” said Dr. Sucitrawan, the zoo’s head veterinarian in a quote in the Jakarta Post.
“Generally speaking, the condition of those cubs is heartening. They are agile and healthy.”
Monday’s birth was exceptionally happy because Sumatran tigers rarely give birth to triplets. Their coming into the world brings the total number of Sumatran tigers in the care of the zoo to eight.
The birth is being hailed as a major achievement to maintain the tiger’s population. It is estimated that there are 150-400 of the species living in the wild, worldwide. The animals are threatened by poachers, loss of habitat and deforestation.
Earlier this summer two Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the Atlanta Zoo. The eight-week old male and female named Sanjiv and Sohni will soon make their public debut.
Another three male Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the Los Angeles Zoo on August 6. Sadly, on the same day the cubs were born in Medan Zoo, one of the tigers in L.A. was found dead in its cage. The necropsy showed it suffered “head trauma,” although veterinarians were unable to explain how it happened.
Lulu, the cub’s mother, has given birth to a total of five cubs in 2005 and 2007. She will continue to raise her two remaining cubs, Leinani and Bernabe.
One zoo representative said, “Every birth of these tigers in a zoo is significant and not without risk.”
Video of the tiger cubs born at Los Angeles Zoo.
Photo from sibtigre2 via flickr.