Hold that tiger: Leanne has 3 cubs

Hold that tiger: Leanne has 3 cubs

By Linda Goldston
Mercury News Article Launched: 03/14/2008 01:38:15 AM PDT

Make it triplets for Leanne the tiger.

Officials at the San Francisco Zoo had thought the Sumatran tiger gave birth to only one cub March 6. But animal keepers were able to confirm this week that the 230-pound new mom had triplets.

“We’re hoping in the next few days to conduct a physical exam,” zoo spokesman Paul Garcia said Thursday. “We might even see more.”

Animal keepers and Jacqueline Jencek, chief zoo veterinarian, began to suspect there was more than one cub two days after Leanne gave birth. But Leanne had licked the video camera being used to monitor mom and the baby, limiting the view. And parts of the nesting box built for Leanne and her new babies are not visible from the camera.

“One of our keepers saw them when Leanne went out” of the nesting box “to get a drink of water,” Garcia said. “She counted three.”

Leanne and her cubs won’t be disturbed for at least a few more days. And even then, Garcia said the cubs will not be gathered for a physical examination until the mother tiger steps out for food or a drink of water.

“We’re kind of watching the routine Leanne is doing,” he said. “Typically in the morning, she’s getting up to eat and get water.”

Jencek said Leanne has done an amazing job of keeping her cubs shielded from the camera. It also didn’t help that she gave a big lick to the lens on the first day.

“When we physically confirmed two more cubs, everyone was just ecstatic with news of the triplets,” she said in a statement.



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