The first tiger cub in 17 years has been born at the London Zoo. Zookeepers won’t know if the Sumatran tiger cub is male or female for around three weeks as it is being left alone with its mother in its £3 million enclosure.
The cub was born on September 22, after a pregnancy of 105 days and a six minute labour to its mother, five year old Melati, who has been watched by zoologists through hidden cameras.
Amazingly the birth was caught on camera – click here to see a video of the birth
Breeding these tigers in captivity may be the only way to protect them in future, as around 300 currently exist in the wild and around the same number in zoos around the world.
In a bid to let Melati bond with her cub, zoo keepers won’t have any contact with it or be able to tell the sex of the cub for about three weeks when it will be given vaccinations.
The birth came exactly six months after the Tiger Territory exhibit was launched at the zoo to encourage breeding of the critically endangered and declining species. The main aim of the project is to conserve the tiger population across the world, which is frequently threatened by poachers and deforestation for the palm oil trade.
The cub cannot currently be seen by the public and will be brought out into the enclosure when mother Melati thinks it is strong enough, which keepers anticipate to be in around six weeks time.