Now that the heatwave has cooled off a bit, it’s time to share some truly heart-warming content. These critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs were born three weeks ago at ZSL London Zoo, and now the very first photos of them have been shared.
Prepare yourselves for cuteness overload:
As you can see, the triplets are cuddling up their mother, who is called Gaysha, and making themselves at home in the Tiger Territory at London Zoo. For the first few weeks of their life, the cubs stuck to the cub den, which is not visible to visitors, before the warm weather led them to come outside with Gaysha for the first time, to the surprise and elation of guests at the zoo that day!
They even showed themselves just in time for the start of the Zoo’s Summer Of Colour, “a celebration of nature’s kaleidoscope”, running through the school holidays.
In the last three weeks, zookeepers have been carefully monitoring the trio, and have witnessed them surpassing key steps in their development, such as opening their eyes for the first time, which are closed at birth.
ZSL London Zoo tiger keeper Kathryn Sanders said: “All three cubs are doing well in mum and dad’s devoted care and we’ve seen a key milestone already, with the strong little ones feeding and taking their first tentative steps almost immediately – the trio will also soon begin to open their eyes, which are always closed for the first few weeks after the birth.
“While we’re keeping a close eye via cubcam, we’re also taking care not to disturb the family so that they can continue to bond together – we can’t wait to get to know the little ones as they grow bigger and begin to explore their surroundings.”
The question on everyone’s lips is probably “But what are their names?!” We’ll need to be a bit patient on that front, as they’ll be named after their first health check, taking place three months after birth, which is when zookeepers can determine the sex of each cub.
Sumatran tigers’ natural habitat is the forests and jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia, but are classified as critically endangered on the ICUN Red List of Threatened Animals. This is the “highest category of threat and facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild”, and they face danger from poaches, loss of habitat and human conflict. Number have declined from an estimated 1000 in the wild in 1970 to just 300 today, which presents a very real threat of complete extinction in the next decade if these trends continue.
Read more about the newborn cubs and Sumatran Tigers at the ZSL London Zoo website.