Tags: endangered | sumatran | tiger cub | born

Endangered Sumatran Tiger Cub Born at San Francisco Zoo

By    |   Friday, 15 February 2013 08:12 AM

A Sumatran tiger gave birth to a much-anticipated and apparently healthy cub over the weekend at the San Francisco Zoo.

The announcement was made by the zoo on Thursday, after zookeepers monitored the interaction between the 9-year-old mother, named Leanne, and her young cub all week via a secluded webcam hidden in their "Lion House."

The cub, which has yet to be named, is the first one Leanne has given birth to since 2008, when she delivered a litter of three males which have since been transferred to zoos across the United States. Before Leanne's 2008 litter, the zoo had not had a tiger birth in 30 years.

"All signs seem to be positive so far . . . Mom and cub are bonding," confirmed San Francisco Zoo curator of carnivores and primates Corinne MacDonald in an interview with Reuters.

MacDonald added that the cub appeared to be healthy and was active and eating a lot.
Leanne's pregnancy was unique in that she was one of a handful of tigers worldwide that received prenatal sonograms and exams while awake. The vast majority of captive tigers are generally put under anesthesia during their pregnancy exams, which can prove dangerous to the mammals.

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, says Dr. Tara Harris, a tiger specialist with the North American accrediting group Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"These births are definitely rare," added Harris, noting that of the 75 captive Sumatran tigers in the U.S. only two to four give birth every year.

The first examination of the cub will occur in two weeks, at which time zoo staff will determine its gender.

The cub, which was fathered by a 6-year-old tiger named Larry, will remain at the zoo for 18 months before zookeepers decide whether to transfer it, reported Reuters. Larry has since been temporarily relocated to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans for breeding, according to the San Francisco Zoo.

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The San Francisco Zoo announced the birth of a "critically" endangered Sumatran tiger cub, the first since 2008. Before then the zoo had not had a tiger birth in 30 years.
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Friday, 15 February 2013 08:12 AM
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