Following the tiger cubs’ first official veterinarian check-up, it has been revealed that the litter born at Rolling Hills Zoo includes one male and two females.
“Since their birth, via the tiger cameras, the animal care staff have been watching these three grow, shared Brenda Gunder, General Curator. “I feel the male was the first born due to his size from day one. The first born has been on the move and keeping his mother Andrea busy, and has also remained the largest of the three. We have been saying “he” when talking about how mobile the first born has been and that Andrea must continually keep him with the group because he likes to wander away from her.”
This was the second time the staff has had their hands on the cubs. The first time was just to get a quick look, weigh them and start the process of working with their mother, Andrea, in introducing keepers into the cubs’ space. At that time their weights ranged from 6 ½ pounds to 8 pounds.
During this second exam the vet checked to make sure that the umbilicus were healing nicely, listened to their hearts and lungs, and examined their eyes, ears and overall body conditions. The cubs were weighed again and each had gained over a pound, with the male gaining almost two pounds in a week’s time. The current weights are 8.2 lbs. and 8.4 lbs. for the girls, and the male is almost 10 pounds.
Tigers are one of the largest land-dwelling predators on Earth. Within the AZA’s (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoo population in the United States, of which Rolling Hills Zoo is an accredited member, there are 109 Amur tigers – 43 males and 66 females, which are all part of the Species Survival Plan. The cubs born at RHZ are the only Amur tiger cubs born in the zoo population this year, making them an important part of the population’s genetic diversity.
Today’s tiger populations are threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, loss of prey and other factors. Just in the past one hundred years four of the nine subspecies (Bali, Caspian, Javan, and South China tigers) have all disappeared in the wild. Amur, Sumatran, and Malayan tigers are all thought to number fewer than 500 individuals in the wild.
“Currently Andrea and her cubs are off exhibit and Andrea will let us know when she and her cubs are ready to venture out to their outdoor habitat,” shared Bob Jenkins, RHZ’s Executive Director. “We anticipate that the cubs will be off exhibit for approximately two months, possibly longer.”