L.A. Zoo Sumatran Tiger Cubs Debut On-Exhibit
Posted by Daniel Antolin on Dec 9, 2011 - 2:21:43 PM
Lulu and her cubs. Photo courtesy of L.A. Zoo.
LOS FELIZ—On Friday, December 9, Los Angeles Zoo visitors were able to see the debut of two 4-month-old male Sumatran tiger cubs on-exhibit with their mother, as originally planned.
The cubs and their mother Lulu were scheduled to enter the Tiger Plaza habitat at 10 a.m., when they were expected to be most active. Thereafter, the tigers would be on and off exhibit throughout the day so as to allow the Zoo's male Sumatran tiger, Manning, some outdoor time.
Born in early August as part of Lulu's third litter, the two cubs remained off-exhibit under their mother's care and that of zoo keepers until they were ready to make their world debut. Though their development since that time was related by zoo staff via its official website.
Tiger cubs playing. Photo courtesy of L.A. Zoo.
Sumatran tiger cubs are completely dependent on their mother for food during their first 18 months, though meat is slowly introduced into their diets. They require vaccinations, have bad eyesight and have to become accustomed to human contact. After two months, the cubs began to play King of the Mountain when wrestling over some towels.
The zoo now describes the cubs as being "cute, energetic and playful." Their time off-exhibit has allowed them to become developed enough to navigate Tiger Plaza's water features and obstacle courses on their own.
The birth of what were initially three male cubs was described an "important milestone" in preserving the Sumatran tiger species, which is endangered because of poaching, violent conflicts with villagers who live near their natural environment and habitat loss. But the zoo lost a cub born into the litter in September because of head trauma.
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