It’s always an exciting day at a zoo when a new baby animal is born, but it’s even more special when it’s a member of an endangered species: each new birth is a step towards ensuring their future survival.
Now, the San Diego Safari Park is celebrating the arrival of two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs.
The park announced in a press release yesterday that the cubs, a male and a female, were born on July 12 to first-time mother Diana. It marks the first of the species to be born at the park in 7 years.
Wildlife specialists are monitoring the tigers, and the zoo said that the cubs appear strong and are nursing frequently. They said that new mom Diana is “an extremely attentive and gentle mother.”
“We are elated about the birth of these tiger cubs,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in the news release. “It has been years since we’ve had cubs at Tiger Trail, and we can’t wait to share them with the community.”
The cubs’ arrival is especially good news because they are part of a critically endangered species. Threatened by habitat loss and poaching, there are now only 400-600 sumatran tigers left on Earth, so each new birth is very important for conservation.
The birth was the result of a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to ensure genetic diversity to sustain the population of the species.
“These births are so important to the conservation of this species,” Peterson said. “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.”
Diana and the cubs will remain behind-the-scenes in her den for a few weeks. The cubs’ first few weeks of life are a crucial period in which they will bond and learn from their mother. When the cubs are about 8-10 weeks old, Diana will bring them out of the den.
In a happy coincidence, the news comes just in time for Global Tiger Day, held on July 29 to raise awareness of tiger conservation.
What beautiful baby tigers, and such great news for this critically endangered species! Please share this amazing news if you love animals! 🐯❤️