Three of the world’s rarest tigers have been born at ZSL London Zoo, with zookeepers capturing their first moments on hidden cameras.
The as-yet unsexed triplets were born to five-year-old Sumatran tigress Melati, on Monday 3 February 2014, after a 106-day pregnancy.
Born in the early hours of the morning and arriving within an hour of each other, the first cub arrived at 12:28am, the second at 12:59am, and the last was delivered at 1:18am, with keepers monitoring the whole birth using remote camera technology.
Melati and her cubs are remaining tucked away together inside their special cubbing dens with Melati only occasionally venturing away from her babies for food
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.
“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 wild Sumatran tiger numbers estimated to be as low as 300 individuals, the cubs represent a huge achievement not just for ZSL London Zoo but for the global breeding programme of this critically endangered species.
While mum Melati relaxes with her new-borns, visitors to ZSL London Zoo can still see six-year-old dad Jae Jae hanging out in Tiger Territory and zookeepers will be revealing exclusive footage of the cubs on ZSL’s YouTube channel throughout March.