Tigers a lit­tle less en­dan­gered

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Sloan

Af­ter months of wait­ing pa­tiently, Auck­land Zoo has wel­comed some new ad­di­tions into its fam­ily.

En­dan­gered su­ma­tran tiger Molek gave birth to three cubs last week fol­low­ing a six month breed­ing pro­gramme.

Keep­ers ar­rived on Thurs­day to hear a “squeak­ing” sound in the tiger den.

At first it was thought there was only one cub but a sec­ond was dis­cov­ered on Tues­day and a third on Wed­nes­day.

Fur­ther de­tails are un­avail­able as the cubs are be­ing left to bond with their mother.

Auck­land Zoo car­ni­vore team leader Andrew Co­ers says the birth is won­der­ful.

“It is a high­light of the con­ser­va­tion ef­forts of the zoo to help this crit­i­cally en­dan­gered tiger,” he says.

World­wide, there are fewer than 160 su­ma­tran tigers in cap­tiv­ity and less than 400 in the wild. The new cubs are par­tic­u­larly valu­able be­cause their fa­ther’s blood­line is not rep­re­sented in Aus­tralasian or Euro­pean zoos.

At eight years old Molek is com­ing into moth­er­hood later in life and Mr Co­ers says it will be a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for her.

“As ex­cited as we are, there are still many risks in­volved for the sur­vival of cubs,” he says.

“By pro­vid­ing an un­ob­tru­sive en­vi­ron­ment for mum and cub, we make things as nat­u­ral and stress free as pos­si­ble for them both.”

The cubs should be on dis­play in six to eight weeks.

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