THE first baby tiger cub to be born at Chester Zoo in more than 23 years has arrived.
Sumatran tiger Kirana gave birth to her first cub between 3am and 8am on Saturday, June 18.
The cub is a first for Kirana, who is five years old, and both the new mother and her offspring are said to be “doing well”.
It is expected to be up to four weeks before keepers know whether the cub is male or female and before a decision can be made on a name.
Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said: “Twenty-three years has been a long wait for tiger cubs but a very worthwhile wait.
“Kirana is a first-time mum and is learning as she goes but so far she has done a brilliant job.
“She was out and about within 24 hours, taking the very best of care of her new charge. We are thrilled, Kirana is very happy and we are sure our visitors will be equally delighted.”
The cub’s father is four-year-old Fabi and this is his first cub. Sumatran tigers are native to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra. The tigers are critically endangered in the wild and are generally pregnant for around 105 days.
Most people are surprised to learn that despite all of the captive breeding of tigers that goes on in zoos there are no legitimate programs to reintroduce them to the wild. Those who work in the field say that zoos only pay the equivalent of lip service to the actual protection or conservation of tigers in the wild. Breeding tigers for life in cages does nothing to save them in the wild and means a life of deprivation and boredom for those unlucky enough to have been born into captivity.