Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at Zoo Atlanta

New arrivals are the first tigers born at the Zoo in a decade

Chelsea, a 7-year-old female Sumatran tiger, gave birth to two cubs late July 5. The first offspring for Chelsea and 10-year-old male Kavi, the cubs are the first tigers born at Zoo Atlanta in more than a decade.

Chelsea’s pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound on May 20. Thanks to groundbreaking training achievements prior to her conception, the tiger has participated voluntarily in ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, permitting veterinarians to monitor her condition without the risk of general anesthesia.

“We’re very excited about the birth of Chelsea’s cubs, and proud of the superior animal care and training efforts that have enabled us to track the cubs’ development as her pregnancy progressed,” said Raymond King, President and CEO. “We hope that as we watch these cubs grow, we can help our guests better understand the need to protect tigers in the wild.”

Sumatran tigers are the world’s rarest tiger species, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild. Poaching, habitat loss and territory fragmentation caused by deforestation are the primary threats to the critically endangered cats, which are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The last tiger cub born at Zoo Atlanta was female Bahagia, who was born in 2000 and moved to the Sacramento Zoo in 2002.

Zoo Atlanta is a participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population within North American zoos. Conservation projects supported by Zoo Atlanta include work to preserve tiger habitat located in a critical wildlife corridor in Sumatra’s Aceh Forest. Chelsea and her cubs are currently bonding in a specially prepared indoor den. Once the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams are confident that Chelsea has adjusted appropriately to her first experience with motherhood, guests will have the opportunity to observe the cubs live on camera at the Sun Bear/Tiger Terrace at Zoo Atlanta, as well as via webcam on Webcam viewing will be available later this week through partnership with Earthcam; stay tuned for details on the cubs’ debut.

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