A trio of tiny Sumatran tiger cubs have emerged from their den for the first time at a zoo in the United Kingdom, packing a lot of hope into a pint-sized package.
There are believed to be only about 300-400 of the endangered Sumatran tigers left in the world, so the tiny cubs are a welcome addition at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo. They were born on Jan. 2 and are the product of the coupling between Kirana, an eight-year-old tigress, and Fabi, a seven-year-old tiger. The cubs have not been named yet, as it will be several weeks until their sex is determined, according to Chester Zoo curator of mammals Tim Rowlands.
"Sumatran tigers are one of the rarest big cat species in the world,'' Rowlands said in a news release. "That’s what makes our new tiger trio so incredibly special – they’re a rare boost to an animal that’s critically endangered. It’s still early days but Kirana is an experienced mom and she’s keeping her cubs very well protected. She’s doing everything we would hope at this stage.”
Sumatran tigers are only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and are the smallest of all tigers, according to Chester Zoo, which works closely with other zoos on breeding and conservation projects to help preserve the rare animals. Kirana has now given birth to three litters of cubs at the Chester Zoo, with the other births coming in 2011 and 2013.
The tigers will get a new home in June when the Chester Zoo opens its new Islands exhibit, which it claims will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the United Kingdom.