Two Sumatran tiger cubs were born Monday at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
The litter is the first for the zoo’s female Sumatran tiger, 4-year-old Damai, who mated several times over the last nine months with the zoo’s male Sumatran tiger, 12-year-old Kavi, zoo officials tell The Washington Post
"It’s taken more than two years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment," the National Zoo's Great Cats Curator Craig Saffoe said in a statement
"All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs," Saffoe added. "Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it’s really special to see her become a great mom."
Zoo officials confirmed Damai was pregnant on June 21.
The first cub was born Monday at 6:15 p.m., two hours before its sibling came into the world at 8:23 p.m., according to zoo officials who watched the birth via a camera in the tiger's cave.
The cubs' genders were not reported.
The new additions will be kept out of view from the public for several months as they receive vaccinations and undergo a series of health exams, according to the zoo.
But just because the cubs aren't being put on display, doesn't mean we can't see them in the first weeks of their life.
In order to satisfy the desires of those who want to see the cubs, the zoo is in the process of setting up a live webcam on its website that showcases the tigers' day to day interactions.
The cubs, which have yet to be named, will remain blind for several weeks until their eyes gradually open, according to zoo officials.
The tiger subspecies is considered critically endangered due to accelerated deforestation and rampant poaching, according to the World Wildlife Federation
Only 400 Sumatran tigers, the smallest of six tiger subspecies, are believed to remain in the wild, scattered across the western Indonesia island of Sumatra – the only place in the world they exist.
There are approximately 75 Sumatran tigers living in captivity throughout North America.
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