Chester Zoo captures birth of two rare tiger cubs on camera which are ‘crucial to the survival of the species’
Chester Zoo has announced the birth of two endangered tiger cubs - and CCTV has caught their first moments on camera
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Hidden cameras have captured the birth of two of the world’s rarest Sumatran tiger cubs born at Chester Zoo. Just 350 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild – making them one of the world’s rarest tiger subspecies.
Chester Zoo zookeepers have said that it has been a ‘privilege’ to welcome the tigers into the world, and the birth is a ‘significant step forward for the conservation’ of the breed. The two cubs were born to first-time parents Kasarna and Dash on January 7.
Dave Hall, Carnivore Team Manager at Chester Zoo, said: “We’ve been closely monitoring Kasarna on our CCTV cameras as she gets to grips with motherhood and her first litter of cubs – it’s a real privilege and incredibly special to watch.
“She’s a great mum and is very attentive to her new infants, keeping them snuggled up in the den and feeding them every few hours. It won’t be too long until they gain enough confidence to start venturing outside for the very first time as a family, which is exciting.”
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and it is thought that just 350 remain in the wild. According to carnivore experts, the birth is a significant step forward for the conservation breeding programme working to save the species from extinction.
“The birth of two more healthy Sumatran tiger cubs is another significant step forward in the long-term efforts to protect these incredible animals. One day, the pair will hopefully go on to themselves make a vital contribution to the endangered species breeding programme, which is now playing a critical role in preventing these majestic animals from becoming extinct”, Mr Hall added.
The expansion of unsustainable palm oil and coffee plantations has seen more than 90% of the Sumatran tiger's habitat wiped out, bringing tigers into close conflict with the human population. As a result, the carnivores are more exposed and often killed when they come into contact with villagers, farmers or livestock.
The species is also heavily poached for its skin, bones and canine teeth, which are sold illegally on the traditional Asian medicine markets.
Mike Jordan, director of animals and plants at the zoo, added: “Today fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers are living in the wild, so Kasarna’s two cubs are absolutely crucial to the survival of the species.
“The arrival of the cubs is a real testament to the expertise and scientific work of our teams who, only last year, paired up a female tigress, Kasarna, with a male Sumatran tiger, named Dash. They were coupled together based on their genetic makeup, age and character and this news is cause for real celebration among the global conservation community.”