There’s good news from ZSL London Zoo, who have just welcomed two of the world’s rarest tigers into the world.
On the morning of Monday, June 27, the seven-year-old Sumatran tiger "Melati" gave birth to two cubs. After 108 days of pregnancy, the delivery was a complete success with both cubs feeding from their mother hours after their birth. Since the keepers want to leave the new mother in peace, the sex of the cubs is not known yet.
Their progress is being constantly monitored through a remote camera system in their cubbing den. You can see some early footage from this “cubcam” below.
“We’re overjoyed with our new arrivals, and with how Melati is responding to her two cubs,” Teague Stubbington, assistant curator of mammals at the zoo, said in a statement. “The cubcam allows us to observe the youngsters 24/7 while not disturbing mum or dad at all, which is ideal while they get to know their babies. One of us is always on duty to keep an eye on the little ones throughout the night. Dad Jae Jae has also been spotted taking a peek at his new-borns!”
On an equally cute note, the cubs still haven’t opened their eyes yet and have remained tucked away inside their den. The pair will stay extremely close to their mother until they’re about two years old.
Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered subspecies of tiger native to the jungles of Sumatra, a large Indonesian island. It’s believed there are around 300 to 400 of these tigers left in the world. These numbers continue to dwindle under the threat of poachers and deforestation.
To help curb this issue, ZSL works with a Sumatran tigers conservation program in Sumatra. Andjar Rafiastanto, the country manager who works there, said: “This is exciting news for the Sumatran tiger… ZSL has been in Sumatra for more than 14 years, working with our government counterparts to increase the protection of Sumatran tigers. The birth of these two tiger cubs brings us hope for their long-term survival.”
Mother, father, and the two cubs "pose" for their first family photo. Image credit: ZSL London Zoo