Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rare Sumatran tiger birthing in zoo caught on tape

Rare Sumatran tiger birthing in zoo caught on tape

Keepers watched the miraculous moment on a closed-circuit camera set up in Damai's den, and they continue to watch how the mom and her new baby bond.

For decades, the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) scientists have been recognized as global leaders for their work in tiger-range countries in Asia helping to protect tigers in the wild.

Saffoe said keepers' efforts for Damai - the cub's eight-year-old mother - to breed have paid off twice now.

It turns out that The Smithsonian's National Zoo has a new guest in the form of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger cub born at the zoo. Keepers haven't yet determined the cub's sex, because they want to give the cub time to bond with its mother.

This is the second birth for Damai but the first via the zoo's 13-year-old male, Sparky.

The litter is Lola's first, and she and her cubs appear to be doing well and are bonding behind the scenes, officials said.

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Keepers began monitoring Damai closely after she bred with Sparky in late March.

The zoo said it is not yet sure of the cub's sex.

Veterinarians confirmed the pregnancy with an ultrasound on June 8.

Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The National Zoo says they slowly introduced the pair in September, giving them visual access through a mesh "howdy door". Their patience, interest, and discussions resulted in "is this fantastic little cub".

Photo caption: Sumatran tiger female Damai and her newborn cub.

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