By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is celebrating the birth of two Sumatran tiger cubs—the first of this critically endangered species to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail habitat in seven years.
Their birth also comes just in time for Global Tiger Day. With only an estimated 400 to 600 Sumatran tigers remaining on Earth, the births are significant in increasing the worldwide population of this tiger species and furthering the nonprofit conservation organization’s ongoing work to conserve them.
The cubs, a female, and a male, were born July 12 to first-time mother Diana. Wildlife care specialists are closely monitoring Diana and her cubs, and they report that Diana is an extremely attentive and gentle mother. The cubs appear strong and are nursing frequently.
“We are elated about the birth of these tiger cubs,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, of San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “It has been years since we’ve had cubs at Tiger Trail, and we can’t wait to share them with the community.” added Peterson, “These births are so important to the conservation of this species. Our hope is these cubs will provide an opportunity for our guests to gain a greater appreciation for tigers and the important need to conserve them in their native habitats.”
The births are a result of a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. The program, overseen by conservationists nationwide, ensures genetic diversity and healthy, self-sustaining assurance of populations of threatened and endangered wildlife.
Sumatran tigers are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Tigers face many challenges, including loss of habitat, challenges to human-wildlife coexistence, and poaching. People can help protect tigers by avoiding products made with non-sustainable palm oil, an industry that harms tiger habitats; and by refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.
Diana and her cubs will remain in her den for several weeks. This window of time is crucial, as it allows the youngsters to bond with and learn from their mother. When Diana is ready, she will bring her cubs out of the den. Wildlife care specialists estimate this will happen when the cubs are 8 to 10 weeks old.
Each year, Global Tiger Day is celebrated worldwide on July 29 to raise awareness and support for tiger conservation. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance works with partners in Asia through our Asian Rainforest Conservation Hub to end poaching and wildlife trafficking, while developing long-term plans to protect critically endangered Sumatran tigers.
Individuals can support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work with a symbolic tiger adoption, supporting innovative conservation efforts to save tigers and their habitats. For information, visit sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org/adopt/sumatran-tiger.