We’re delighted to announce that two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at the zoo, and our hidden cameras have captured a first glimpse!
The tiny twins were born to first time parents Kasarna and Dash on 7 January. The new family have been bonding in their den ever since, with all of their adorable early life antics caught by our CCTV cameras.
The new arrivals are yet to be sexed and will be named once they start to gain in confidence and venture outside, which our experts estimate will be in early April.
Just 350 Sumatran tigers are thought to remain in the wild, making them one of the world’s rarest tiger subspecies. They’re listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). That means the new born twins are significant additions to a global conservation breeding programme which is working to save the species from extinction.
“We’ve been closely monitoring Kasarna on our CCTV cameras as she get to grips with motherhood and her first litter of cubs. It’s a real privilege and incredibly special to watch. She’s a great mum and is being very attentive to her new babies, keeping them snuggled up in the den and feeding them every few hours. It won’t be long until they gain enough confidence to start venturing outside for the very first time as a family, which is really exciting!”
Dave Hall, Carnivore Team Manager here at Chester Zoo
Dave continued to say:
“The birth of two more healthy Sumatran tiger cubs is another significant boost to the long-term efforts to protect these incredible animals. One day, the pair will hopefully go on to make a vital contribution to the endangered species breeding programme, which is now playing a critical role in preventing these majestic animals from becoming extinct.”
The expansion of unsustainable palm oil and coffee plantations has seen more than 90% of the Sumatran tiger’s habitat wiped out, bringing tigers into close conflict with the human population.
As a result, the carnivores are more exposed and often killed when they come into contact with villagers, farmers or livestock. The species is also heavily poached for its skin, bones and canine teeth, which are sold illegally on the traditional Asian medicine markets.
Mike Jordan, Our Animals and Plants Director, said:
“Today there are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers living in the wild, so Kasarna’s two cubs are absolutely crucial to the survival of the species. They are the latest additions to an insurance population in conservation zoos that will be the driving force in preventing the Sumatran tiger from enduring the same fate as the Javan, Caspian and Balinese tigers, which have all sadly been wiped out forever.”
In India and Nepal, our teams are fighting to control illegal poaching and mitigate conflict between humans and tigers to improve the outlook for another subspecies, the Bengal tiger.
Support our Sumatran Tiger family
Adopting a Sumatran tiger at Chester Zoo will help fund our vital conservation work to protect declining tiger populations, PLUS you’ll receive an exclusive adoption pack and your name will be displayed on a ‘Thank you’ plaque by their habitat!