On Monday 3rd February a Sumatran tiger at ZSL London Zoo gave birth to 3 very adorable cubs in the wee hours of the morning. The first fluffy bundle of joy arrived at 12:28am, the second at 12:59am and the final at 1:18am, under the watchful eyes of keepers using remote cameras. The cubs belong to 5 year old mother Melati, and six year old father Jae Jae. This is exciting news after a sad situation last year, where the same mother gave birth to a cub which later drowned in a pool within the tiger enclosure. ZSL have taken steps to prevent this from happening again, and a spokeswoman told the Guardian "We've drained the pond and built a cub conservancy so that Melati has space to go outside with the cubs without going too far. The keepers are monitoring the situation 24/7 and taking turns to watch the cameras overnight."
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a critically endangered subspecies of tiger; it is estimated that there are only 400-500 individuals left in the world; this is down from approximately 1,000 in the 1970s. Sumatran tigers are found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, preferring to dwell in forest areas. The population of Sumatran tigers is under threat due to numerous factors causing their decline. This includes habitat loss due to palm oil plantations and deforestation for timber, and illegal trade for numerous products such as skin and bones, which are highly valued for their use in traditional Asian medicine. Tiger bones can be sold for a whopping $116 per kilogram.
Although the sex of these little nippers is currently unknown, they are already starting to develop personalities. Zookeeper Teague Stubbington said in a press release that one cub, nicknamed Trouble "[is] much bolder than the others- it was the first one to start exploring its den and was spotted waking up its siblings when they fall asleep."
Take a look at these loveable little bambinos with their mother, filmed in their enclosure at ZSL.