Two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at Chester Zoo
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Two Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at Chester Zoo.
There are only 350 of these bad boys and girls left in the wild around the entire globe, so it's safe to say the species is very rare at the moment.
They are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Hidden CCTV cameras inside the tiger enclosure at the UK's Chester Zoo shows how well first time parents Kasarna and Dash are bonding with the new arrivals.
Zookeepers aren't sure what sex the cubs are yet as they're allowing the family to have a bit of time to themselves.
The twins were born on January 7 and will be named around April when they start to get a bit of confidence.
Chester Zoo's Carnivore Team Manager, Dave Hall, is thrilled to welcome the twin cubs.
“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," he said.
"She’s a great mum and is being very attentive to her new infants, keeping them snuggled up in the den and feeding them every few hours.
"It won’t be too long until they gain enough confidence to start venturing outside for the very first time as a family, which is really exciting.
“The birth of two more healthy Sumatran tiger cubs is another significant step forward in the long-term efforts to protect these incredible animals.
"One day, the pair will hopefully go on to themselves 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.”
Large parts of the Sumatran tiger habitat has been wiped out due to the palm oil industry as well as coffee plantations.
Chester Zoo says they are often killed in the wild because the destruction of their natural habitat means they get pushed closer to human territory.
They're also a target for poachers as the animal's skin, bones and teeth are highly prized on the black market.
Chester Zoo's Director of Animals and Plants, Mike Jordan, is hopeful these two cubs will slowly rebuild the species' population.
“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," he said.
"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.
“The arrival of the cubs is a real testament to the expertise and scientific work of our teams who, only last year, paired up female tigress, Kasarna, with a male Sumatran tiger, named Dash.
"They were coupled together based on their genetic make-up, age and character and this news is cause for real celebration among the global conservation community.”
Featured Image Credit: Chester Zoo