Smithsonian’s National Zoo has announced the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, which appears to be thriving.
It’s a significant boost for the critically endangered species.
The cub – it’s sex still unknown – was born on July 11 to mother Damai – a second litter for the 8-year-old – and first-time father, Sparky.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the species in trouble with only an estimated 300 to 400 of the animals left in the wild. This cub, while in North American, not the wilds of Asia, gives pause for hope.
“This is such an exciting time for us, not only because we have a cub who appears to be doing great, but also because this animal’s genes are extremely valuable to the North American population,” Craig Saffoe, curator of the Great Cats habitat said in a statement.
Keepers kept an eye on the birth via a closed-circuit camera.
And, they are still monitoring the cub.
It quickly started nursing, is moving around and otherwise acting like a normal tiger newborn.
Damai and her cub are being allowed to bond.
It may be a while before veterinarians can determine the cub’s gender.
“Now that we have had success breeding Damai this year and in 2013, it means that the keepers’ patience with the introduction process, their willingness to study the cats’ behaviors and learn from them and our discussions with colleagues here and at other institutions has paid off,” Saffoe added. “The result is this amazing little cub.”
The National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. have been working to protect tigers in Asia.
That includes training conservation officers on the front lines about law enforcement, poaching and illegal trade, tiger biology and working with locals.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) July 12, 2017
Photos Smithsonian’s National Zoo