WACO (May 23, 2012)--Cameron Park Zoo officials say a Sumatran Tiger, a species whose population is declining, has a second chance to raise cubs after she rejected her first litter.
Maharani gave birth to two cubs last August, but rejected them, leaving the zookeepers to raise and care for them.
A spokesperson with the zoo said although it is unusual for the them to allow another pairing so soon after an animal has given birth, Maharani showed signs of stress after being separated from her mate, Kucing.
The decision was made to let them be together but to separate them if breeding activity was observed.
If a pregnancy resulted, the mother would be given another chance to care for her young.
According to zoo employees, Sumatran tigers have an average gestation period of 103 days.
The Species Survival Plan, which makes breeding recommendations, advised that Maharani not be fitted with a birth control implant since she is in her reproductive prime and her bloodline is important to the future of Sumatran tigers.
Although Cameron Park zookeepers were able to separate the animals twice, Maharani began showing signs of pregnancy in April.
The two female cubs and one male cub, born April 19, are now five-weeks-old and are being cleaned and cared for by their mother.
"Maharani and her cubs are healthy and have developed a strong bond. In a few more weeks the babies will be large enough and strong enough to navigate the exhibit yard first under the supervision of zookeepers, then with their mother's guidance," a spokesperson said.
The cubs are not yet old enough to be on exhibit, zookeepers said.