The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed three new male Amur tiger cubs Tuesday.
The newborn cubs were born early Tuesday morning and weighed only 2.5 pounds, and were initially monitored by zoo personal using a remote feed from a camera mounted in the den.
According to the zoo, the mother did not show maternal care or nurse the cubs, so a decision was made to hand rear the cubs.
“We are always cautiously optimistic about the survival of fragile newborns,” said President/CEO Tom Stalf. “But the cubs seem to be thriving under the 24-hour care provided by our animal specialists and veterinarians.”
These are the first cubs for ten-year-old female, Irisa, although the Zoo team and the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) had hoped for years she would reproduce and pass on her valuable genes. This is the third litter sired by eleven-year-old, Foli, since 2012.
With the addition of the three cubs there are currently 10 Amur tigers at the Columbus Zoo including four cubs born in 2013 and their mother, Mara.
Amur tigers also referred to as Siberian tigers, are critically endangered; fewer than 400 individuals are believed to exist in the forests of the Russian Far East. Their populations are dwindling due to overhunting of prey species such as deer and wild boar, habitat loss, and poaching for skins and body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine. Humans directly cause 75 to 85 percent of tiger deaths.