1:27p.m. 10 March 2008
At just 12 weeks old, Australia Zoo’s precious newcomers have already covered more territory than they would be expected to in a lifetime.
The three Sumatran tiger cubs flew from Jakarta, Indonesia, all the way to Brisbane, via Darwin, to prepare for their new lives at the zoo.
The cubs, one male and two female, will become part of the first breeding program of Sumatran tigers outside Indonesia in 27 years.
Cargo company OBM facilitated the safe arrival of the tigers, following months of preparation to meet customs and legislative requirements.
The tigers had to undergo extensive testing before arriving in Australia, and blood samples were flown to Geelong to ensure they were in good condition for the trip.
An Australia Zoo spokesman said the playful cubs would spend several weeks in quarantine at the zoo, where the dedicated tiger handlers will keep a watchful eye on them, 24 hours a day.
Sumatran tigers are in danger of becoming extinct, with an estimated 400 left in the wild.
The zoo spokesman said the breeding program would allow new bloodlines to be introduced to the captive tiger population.
Australia Zoo already has 11 tigers, including six other Sumatran tigers, and has upgraded its facilities to cater for the new arrivals.
The spokesman said the cubs would be raised at the zoo and would eventually become part of an international breeding program
They will also be used to increase awareness about tiger conservation.
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