Three of the world’s rarest tiger cubs have made their public debut just in time for Mothers’ Day, exploring the outdoor paddock of their home at ZSL London Zoo’s Tiger Territory.
The seven-week-old cubs joined mum, Melati, when she ventured outside to stretch her legs on Wednesday afternoon, and appeared delighted with their new play area.
The cubs, who won’t be named until keepers know if they are boys or girls, have been spotted playing in their custom-built cub conservatory area, but this is the first time that they’ve ventured outside into the main paddock.
After taking cautious steps towards the entrance and with a few encouraging nudges from mum, the trio were soon busy exploring, with one even attempting to climb a fallen tree trunk.
Zookeeper Tracey Lee said: “We were watching the cubs on the hidden cameras in their dens, when it looked like they were about to follow Melati outside – we all rushed to the exhibit and were just thrilled to catch them playing outside for the first time.
“We got a real glimpse of their different personalities, as two of the cubs confidently bounded outside while the other one hung back a little and needed a bit more encouragement from mum.
“Melati spends 24 hours a day caring for the cubs, playing with them, feeding them and washing them and only leaves them for a few minutes at a time to eat, so they’ve given her the best Mothers’ Day treat of a few minutes peace!”
While keepers can’t predict when the cubs will be out and about, visitors to ZSL London Zoo can still catch six-year-old dad Jae Jae hanging out in Tiger Territory.