27 January 2015
One of the rare, three-month-old Sumatran tiger cubs carried by a keeper to its health check-up at Chester Zoo.

The rare, three-month-old Sumatran tigers were examined, sexed, weighed and vaccinated by the zoo’s specialist vets and carnivore keepers.

The cubs, born in January to mum Kirana and dad Fabi, were found to be two males and one female.

Gabby Drake, vet at Chester Zoo, said the trio are in tip-top shape.”

Sumatran tigers are one of the rarest big cat species in the world and our new triplets are very special cubs indeed. It’s really important for us to make sure they’re healthy and in good physical condition and we’re happy to report that all three of the cubs have been given a clean bill of health – they’re in tip-top shape.

The cubs were given similar vaccines to those a pet cat receives when it’s taken to the vets. Of course we were much more cautious about handling the cubs than we would be with domestic kittens though.

We checked them over as quickly as we could before returning them to their mum Kirana. She’s a very good mother and fiercely protective of her young charges, so we certainly didn’t want to hang around for long.

Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They are the smallest of all tigers and have the narrowest stripes.

Critically endangered in the wild, there are believed to be just 300-400 Sumatran tigers left as they are often targeted by poachers who use their body parts as traditional medicine. Much of their jungle habitat has also been destroyed.

We want your help to choose the names for our cubs. Just follow the link below to vote.

Vote on our cubs names >

UPDATE: Voting has now closed. The chosen names for our cubs are Jaya (meaning ‘victorious’) and Topan (‘hurricane’) for the males and Kasarna (‘beautiful melody’) for the female cub. 

Carnivore keeper Rachael Bodenham carries on of three Sumatran cubs to its first health check-up
Vets and vet nurses from Chester Zoo carefully check over one of the Sumatran tiger cubs
The three cubs together after their check-ups

Sumatran tiger facts

  • The trio of cubs at Chester Zoo were born on Jan 2, 2015
  • Mum Kirana is eight-years-old
  • Dad Fabi is seven
  • Kirana and Fabi’s last cubs, Kasih and Nuri, are also at Chester Zoo
  • Sumatran tigers are found in patches of forest on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia
  • The species is classed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered in the wild. They are faced with a high threat of extinction due to widespread habitat loss and poaching for their body parts which are used in traditional medicine
  • Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all tiger species
  • Sumatran tigers’ stripes are narrower and closer together than those of all other tiger species
  • Chester Zoo’s Sumatran tigers are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. The zoo works closely with other zoos on conservation breeding projects to try and ensure the ongoing survival of the species
  • In June 2015, the zoo’s tigers will move to a brand new exhibit when Islands, the biggest development in UK zoo history, opens. Islands will recreate habitats from Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi and showcase species such Sumatran orangutans, cassowary and Sunda gharial crocodiles, as well as Sumatran tigers. Unlike anything else in the UK, it will show animals in an even more naturalistic setting than ever before, which the zoo hopes will see visitors make more of an emotional connection with them. If people care about a species they’re more likely to help save them
  • Website: www.chesterzoo.org/islands