Four rare Sumatran tigers born at Oklahoma City Zoo

Four rare Sumatran tigers born at Oklahoma City Zoo

Four Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The cubs are the first Sumatran tigers born at the zoo, and official

s nationwide are excited about the addition to the captive population. There are only 71 Sumatran tigers in North American zoos and about 230 in the wild.

Four Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

 

A cub plays in one of the pens. The four tiger cubs born in July at the Oklahoma City Zoo were on public display for the first time Tuesday motning, Oct. 4, 2011. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Baby tiger cubs at zoo

Oct 4The Oklahoma City Zoo shows off their new tiger cubs.

PHOTO view all photos

Four rare Sumatran tigers born at Oklahoma City Zoo

MORE INFO

AT A GLANCE

Sumatran tigers

by the numbers

Sumatran tigers are one of six living tiger subspecies. They live mostly on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are considered critically endangered.

71: number of Sumatran tigers in captivity in North America, including the four tiger cubs born this summer at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

230: estimate of the wild Sumatran tiger population.

10 to 15: average life span in years of a tiger in the wild.

3.5: average length in inches of a tiger’s retractable claws.

250: weight in pounds of an average adult male, the lightest of the tiger subspecies.

20: average territory size in square miles per adult tiger.

 

The cubs are the first of their kind born at the zoo, and they’re some of the rarest tigers in the world.

The cubs — one male and three females — will be on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

They were born July 9 and are the first for mother, Suriya, and father, Raguno. The cubs now weigh about 30 pounds each.

Officials waited three months to announce the birth of the tiger cubs because they didn’t want to tell the public until the animals were outside on display, said Alan Varsik, assistant zoo director.

“People would want to come here to see them, and we wouldn’t want to disappoint,” he said.

Keepers let the cubs briefly explore their outdoor habitat earlier this week, but Tuesday was their first full day outside as a family.

The outdoor area has plenty of rocks and drop-offs, so supervisors wanted to be sure the cubs were agile and coordinated enough to be safe, said Jonathan Reding, supervisor of Cat Forest and Lion Overlook

The cubs will stay with their mother until they mature at about 2 years old. From there, the tigers may stay in Oklahoma or be assigned to other zoos, Reding said.

The mating efforts lasted more than three years, Reding said. Keepers had to wait for just the right timing to partner the normally solitary animals.

“We’ve been very successful with other species,” Reding said. “But this one, we’ve been trying the hardest with. This is probably one of the most anticipated births that we’ve had.”

Only 71 Sumatran tigers live in captivity in North American zoos, and about 230 live in the wild, according to the Tiger Species Survival Plan, a nationwide breeding strategy designed to keep the captive tiger population healthy and genetically diverse.

The birth of the four Oklahoma City cubs is exciting, said Tara Harris, coordinator of the Tiger Species Survival Plan.

A thriving tiger population in captivity is sort of a genetic insurance policy for tigers in the wild, Harris said.

“Tiger populations in the wild are very endangered, and the threat of extinction is real,” Harris said.

“We know that three subspecies of tigers have already gone extinct in the last hundred years. With this critically endangered population of Sumatran tigers, we want to make sure we can prevent their extinction with this backup population.”

Harris said she would like to see the captive Sumatran tiger population grow to 150.

What is most sad is that people will read this and not even think twice about why a tiger, who’s home should be measures in miles, is being bred for life in a cage.

Read more: http://newsok.com/four-rare-sumatran-tigers-born-at-oklahoma-city-zoo/article/3610544#ixzz1ZxZpZ2RO

 

 

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