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National Zoo’s Tiger Cubs Get Their First Medical Exam


Guest John Gibbons
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Guest John Gibbons

Thursday morning, June 8, veterinarians and animal-care staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

got their first look at the newest litter of Sumatran tigers. The two females and one male are the sixth litter

of Sumatran tiger cubs born at the National Zoo in its 117-year history, and the third litter for mother,

Soyano.

 

During this first quick medical exam, Zoo staff checked the cubs’ sex, weight and general health.

National Zoo veterinarians say all the cubs are doing well and report that the male cub is the biggest,

weighing 6.8 pounds; the two females weigh 5.8 and 4.8 pounds.

 

The three cubs, born on May 24, are now two weeks old. National Zoo veterinarians will examine

the cubs again in four weeks to give them vaccinations. The cubs have not been named; the public will be

asked to vote on the names later this summer.

 

The National Zoo currently has five tigers―the three cubs, their mother, Soyano, and father,

Rokan. The cubs will not be on public exhibit for several months. Their father can be seen at the National

Zoo’s Lion/Tiger exhibit.

 

The National Zoo has been involved in 34 years of research on tigers in the wild and in zoos. The

Zoo participates in the Sumatran tiger Species Survival Plan, coordinated by the American Zoo and

Aquarium Association. The Species Survival Plans are cooperative breeding and conservation programs

designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity, and to organize zoo and

aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.

 

Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in a habitat that ranges from

lowland forest to submountain and mountain forest. They are endangered; fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers

are believed to exist in the wild and 210 animals live in zoos around the world. Sumatran tigers are the

smallest tiger. Males weigh approximately 265 pounds; females weigh approximately 200 pounds.

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