A critically endangered Sumatran tiger recently gave birth to twin cubs at the Chester Zoo in the UK.
The twins’ birth was caught on covert cameras; their sexes have not yet been determined. One of the rarest tiger subspecies in the world, only 350 are believed to exist in the wild. Mike Jordan, director of animals and plants, said The survival of the species depended “absolutely crucially” on the cubs.
According to Flora and Fauna International, Sumatran tigers are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered, the most serious conservation category, and the highest priority.
The zoo warned that habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with people could lead to the extinction of carnivores.
Sumatra Tiger Twin Cubs, Species Survival
Dave Hall, the carnivore team manager for the zoo, said that the delivery of two more healthy Sumatran tiger cubs marks an important advancement in the long-term efforts to safeguard these amazing animals.
He hoped that one day the two newborns will contribute significantly to the breeding program for endangered species, which is currently essential in preventing the extinction of these magnificent animals.
Kasarna and Dash, first-time parents, welcomed twins in January, and since then, the family has been spending time together in their den.
Kasarna was a “great mom,” according to Hall, and she was paying close attention to her newborns.
He added that it won’t be long before they start building enough self-assurance to start going outside as a family, which is truly exciting.
Jordan from the zoo stated that Kasarna’s cubs were necessary for the species’ survival. The Sumatran tiger won’t meet the same tragic demise as the Javan, Caspian, and Balinese tigers, which were all sadly exterminated for good, he continued, because they are the most recent additions to the insurance population housed in conservation zoos.
The Indonesian island of Sumatra is home to patches of forest where Sumatran tigers can be found. Because of massive habitat loss and illegal hunting for their body parts used in folk medicine, these tigers are in grave danger of going extinct, BBC News reports.
The smallest and darkest tiger subspecies, Panthera tigris sumatrae*, also tends to have more manes and beards than the other subspecies. It is the only island tiger still alive in Indonesia and lives in a variety of habitats, including peat forests, lowland forests, and sub-mountain and mountain forests.
The male of the subspecies is thought to have a range of 52 km2, while the female has a much smaller range of only 27 km2. In comparison to female tigers, which typically weigh 91 kg and measure 7 feet in length, male tigers can grow to be around 120 kg and 8 feet long.
According to Wild Cats Conservation Alliance, less than 400 adult individual tigers are thought to exist in isolated areas of protected land in Sumatra. Three of the protected areas are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but due to threats from poaching, agricultural encroachment, illegal logging, and planned road construction, all are at risk of losing this designation.
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