Three critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs joined the ZSL London Zoo’s residents back in June of this year, with the first glimpses of the precious babes coming in via “cubcam”. Now, the trio have taken their first wobbly steps out into the world, and we’re pleased to announce there’s a magnificent set of photos to document the momentous occasion.
The new arrivals were born to mom and dad, Gaysha and Asim, and have been building their strength in the zoo’s behind-the-scenes cubbing den for the last few weeks. However, a recent spell of warm weather (like, seriously warm) triggered Gaysha to take her pups for a stroll into the outdoor enclosure.
A lucky few zoogoers were therefore gifted a first-look at the tiny, endangered tigers who could be seen snuggling with mom as well as rolling around in straw. The cubs have only just recently begun opening their eyes as tigers are born with their lids closed.
Their arrival and reported good health is great news for the species, which is critically endangered in the wild. It’s estimated that there are only around 300 tigers left in the forests of Sumatra in Indonesia, where they face threats of habitat loss, poaching, and human-animal conflict.
It’s estimated that Sumatran tigers could very well go extinct in the wild in the next decade, which is why organizations like the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are committed to both captive breeding programs as well as interventions in the wild. ZSL is a world leader in tiger conservation, lobbying governments to create wildlife corridors, patrol tiger habitats, and work to reduce human-tiger conflict at a community level.
These three cubs are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme – which helps to ensure a healthy and genetically diverse captive tiger population – and could well play a big role in securing the species' future.