Sumatran Tiger Cubs
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Uploaded on Mar 24, 2008
Our three male Sumatran Tiger Cubs (Panthera tigris sumatrae), born on March 7th 2008 get a health check, by our vet staff at the SF Zoo.
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SUMATRAN CUBS GET FIRST MEDICAL EXAM AT THE SAN FRANCISCO ZOO
All Boys for First-Time Mom Leanne
SAN FRANCISCO (MARCH 15, 2008) --Three, 9-day-old Sumatran tiger cubs underwent their first veterinary exam today at the San Francisco Zoo. Saturday's health exam allowed Zoo staff to get their first up-close look at the triplets, and officially document that Leanne is a proud mom to three boys.
During the first exam, the Zoo's veterinary staff checked the cubs' general health and weighed the trio. The biggest of the cubs weighs 4.8 pounds, with the two other siblings weighing 4.2 pounds each. In a few weeks the three boys will receive their vaccinations, similar to shots given to domestic kittens. The unnamed cubs will not be on exhibit for several months while they continue to nurse, gain strength and coordination. The cubs' father, George, can be seen at the Zoo's big cat grotto exhibits.
"I was happy to see that all three boys have big bellies, indicating they are very well fed and cared for by their mom," said Jacqueline Jencek, DVM, chief of veterinary services at the San Francisco Zoo.
Leanne, a 230-pound Sumatran tiger, has been caring for her three cubs since giving birth on March 6. The following day, the Zoo's veterinary and animal care staff visually confirmed the presence of at least one tiger cub through a video and audio monitoring system. A few days later, the staff confirmed two additional cubs when they inspected the nest box after Leanne momentarily left the birthing den for a drink of water.
"After the second day of monitoring we were certain we had more than one cub, but we didn't want to disrupt Leanne and the maternal bond she was displaying," said Jencek. "Leanne has been excellent at tending to her litter and she has managed to keep them hidden from our camera, which had made it difficult for us to determine how many cubs really were in the nest box."
This remains as a very critical period for mom and her cubs, the Zoo's veterinary staff has been very impressed with Leanne's motherly instincts. Through their daily video observations, staff has noted mom's behavior to be attentive and gentle. The mortality rate of Sumatran cubs in the wild and in captivity is between 30 and 40 percent, and is higher with first-time mothers.
Leanne and George are part of the Zoo's breeding program for the purpose of increasing the genetic diversity of the Sumatran tiger population in zoos through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Tiger Species Survival Plan. This is the first litter for the 5-year-old mom and 10-year-old dad. There are more than 200 Sumatran tigers living in zoos around the world. The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the smallest of the tiger species. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered species, with an estimated 400 to 500 animals living in the wild, predominantly in national parks found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
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