Siberian tiger cubs exploring English zoo

Cambridge, UK: Two cute tiger cubs could play a very important role in helping zoologists keep their species alive.

The new Amur (Siberian) cubs at Linton Zoo are genetically important to a biodiverse population of captive tigers, which may one day be needed to help reintroduce the big cats back into the wild.

The cubs were born on Wednesday, April 19, to Deja, a 10- year-old female, and her mate, Mirko, an eight-year-old male.

They spent their first few weeks inside, but have begun to explore their outside enclosure – giving the public their first glimpse.

Kim Simmonds, of Linton Zoo, said several thousands of pounds had been raised at the zoo in aid of wild tiger conservation.

She said: “Education is provided to help us understand the current situation for this magnificent cat and the plans for their survival.

“The image of the tiger is a powerful symbol of the Far East and one which man has borrowed to denote authority, might and virility. This may in the long run say more about our own weaknesses and insecurity, especially if we allow them to become extinct.

“In the meantime, the two new tiger cubs are helping to reinforce an important conservation message, while everything falls prey to their relentless curiosity.”

Just 100 years ago, there were about 100,000 tigers in the wild.

Now there are thought to be less than 6,000 animals, with only five of the original eight sub-species surviving.

The only animal which hunts tiger is man, even today (Wednesday, 23 August), in spite of international protection and worldwide recognition of their critically endangered status.

Linton Zoo actively supports tiger conservation. It takes part in an internationally-recognised breeding programme to keep up a biodiverse population that may one day be needed to reintroduce tigers into the wild.

23 August 2006

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