Zookeepers have been left devastated after London Zoo’s newborn Sumatran tiger cub drowned.
First-time mum, Melati, carried her three-week old cub into the outdoor paddock, where it fell into the pond and drowned on Saturday morning, the zoo has confirmed.
Keepers said Melati, who arrived at the Regent’s Park zoo’s new Tiger Territory earlier this year to encourage breeding of this critically endangered sub-species with mate Jae Jae, can be very nervous so she was left to settle into her new home.
Melati gave birth to the zoo’s first tiger cub in 17 years on September 22, which was captured by hidden cameras.
Curator Malcolm Fitzpatrick said: “We’re heartbroken by what’s happened. We didn’t want to put her on edge by changing her surroundings our routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub.
“At the time we thought it was in the best interests of Melati and her cub to allow her continued access to the full enclosure as normal.
“We would do anything to turn back the clock and nobody could be more upset about what’s happened than the keepers who work with the tigers every day. They are devoted to these tigers and are distraught.”
The zoo will conduct a full review into the circumstances around the incident.