The world’s rarest tigers have been given a boost after the birth of three cubs at London zoo.
Five-year-old Sumatran tiger Melati gave birth to her second litter on Monday, February 3, after a 106-day pregnancy.
Zookeepers are thrilled at how well the five-week-old cubs are doing following the devastating death of Melati’s first cub which drowned at just three weeks old in October.
Zookeeper Teague Stubbington said: “We couldn’t be more delighted with our new arrivals and with how Melati is responding to her three cubs.
“We’ve been observing them 24/7 and one of us is always on duty to keep an eye on the little ones throughout the night. We’ve even been able to observe key milestones like their eyes opening and their tentative first steps.”
The young family are being monitored using remote cameras in a hidden cubbing den. While Melati is bonding with her new arrivals away from the prying eyes of visitors, six-year-old Jae Jae is proving to be a hands off dad and can still be seen hanging out in the Tiger Territory in Regent's Park.
One of the bolder cubs has been nicknamed Trouble.
Mr Stubbington said: “While we still don’t know whether they’re boys or girls, we’re starting to see their personalities develop. We've nicknamed one Trouble, as it’s much bolder than the others. It was the first to start exploring its den and we’ve spotted it waking up its siblings when they fall asleep.”
With just 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, the cubs represent a significant achievement not just for London Zoo but for the global breeding programme of this critically endangered species.
Zookeepers will be revealing exclusive footage of the cubs on ZSL’s YouTube channel throughout March.