Sumatran Tigers Born At National Zoo

Two rare Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.. Monday’s birth was announced by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo this morning. The cubs will remain in seclusion with their mother Damai for several months.

Damai and her cubs can be viewed via live the zoo’s webcam. The father, Kavi, will remain on public display.

As reported by The Washington Post, the cubs will be examined by a vet, given vaccinations, and returned to their mother. Their continued health is essential as Sumatran tigers are critically endangered.

Fewer than 600 Sumatran tigers remain worldwide. Sixty-five of the remaining tigers are housed in North American zoos.

Damai has adapted well to motherhood. She has been caring for and grooming her new cubs. Zoo officials state that the cubs appear to be healthy. However, they will not know for sure until they complete a physical exam.

The National Zoo acquired Damai in 2011. She was joined by Kavi last year. The pair mated numerous times before Damai’s pregnancy was finally confirmed on June 21.

As reported by the WWF, Sumatran tigers exclusive to the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. They are a subspecies of the Javan and Balinese tigers, which are already extinct.

The Sumatran tiger population continues to decrease. Loss of habitat is an ongoing issue. Over 25 square miles of forest were destroyed between 1985 and 1997. The trees were removed, legally and illegally, for logging and agriculture.

As a result of deforestation, the tigers natural prey has also declined. As their habitat is destroyed, the rare tigers wander into villages looking for food. Livestock and residents have been attacked and killed by the tigers on numerous occasions. As the villagers attempt to defend themselves and their animals, tigers are often killed.

The leading cause of Sumatran tiger death is poaching. It is estimated that at least 40 Sumatran tigers are killed every year by poachers. Despite conservation efforts, the tigers’ skin and bones are in demand.

Watch the Sumatran tiger cubs live: Here

[Image via Flickr]

Share this article: Sumatran Tigers Born At National Zoo
More from Inquisitr