It’s always a happy day at a zoo when a new animal is born, giving everyone the opportunity to see a beautiful baby animal.
But it’s even better news when the newborn is a member of an endangered species: each new birth is a step towards protecting their population, ensuring they live on for another generation.
And recently, one Oregon zoo had double the reason to celebrate, after two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs were born.
The cubs, one male and one female, were born on July 11th at the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. They were the first tiger cubs born there since the 1980s, the park’s carnivore supervisor Sarah Huse told KPIC.
They were also the first cubs born to new mom Riya, a 9-year-old Sumatran tiger, who has been taking good care of them.
“Mom cleaned the cubs off immediately and they have both been nursing away,” Sarah Huse said.
Sumatran tigers listed as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List, citing detrimental habitat loss and illegal hunting of tiger parts as reasons for a declining population, so the birth of these cubs is a positive step towards keeping this species alive.
The birth was part of the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Program. The newborns are only the second litter born into the program since 2018.
“The Tiger SSP breeding program is desperate to successfully breed new genetics and get cubs on the ground,” Huse explained. “There has been a severe lack of tiger cubs born the last couple years with shut downs and restrictions at other zoological facilities.”
“Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with an estimated less than 400 left in the wild.”
Wildlife Safari is known as “America’s most successful cheetah breeding center,” according to the park’s news release, and they were excited to do their part in helping the Sumatran tiger population.
“We are always excited to be able to share with our supporting public when we have these major milestones,” park executive director Dan Van Slyke told KPIC. “We’re all about sharing new animals and new experiences with the public.”
“This is not only a huge accomplishment for Wildlife Safari but also for the entire zoo community and the international tiger population,” Huse said.
The cubs are currently spending time bonding with their mom, but they will soon be available for public viewing at the park. In the meantime, you can see them on the park’s Facebook live streams.
Congrats to Wildlife Safari on the birth of these beautiful newborn tigers, who will go a long way in helping this critically endangered species survive!