Tiger cubs born at Philadelphia Zoo

Posted: May 25, 2007

Kira, the Philadelphia Zoo's female Amur tiger, gave birth last night to three cubs. Mother and cubs are resting comfortably, zoo officials said this morning in a news release.

Keepers are monitoring Kira and her new family through cameras in her cubbing den. Female tigers keep their cubs hidden after they're born, and the tiger family will remain off-exhibit for about three months so Kira can care for her cubs in privacy.

Tiger cubs are very dependent on their mothers at birth. They are most vulnerable during their first week or so and often only part of a litter survives. The Zoo is optimistic that some or all of the new babies will thrive since Kira is an experienced mother who already has reared three healthy sets of cubs. The Zoo will post video of the cubs and Kira soon.

The cubs were born to female Kira, who came to the Zoo from Germany in 1998, and male Dmitri, who came to Philadelphia from the Little Rock Zoo last year. Kira and Dmitri are two of the most genetically valuable Amur tigers in the United States. Today's birth is the result of a national effort by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to ensure a healthy zoo population of this endangered big cat.

Visitors can continue to see Dmitri, the father of the new cubs, in the tiger habitat at Bank of America Big Cat Falls daily.

Amur tigers are the largest of all big cats. Adult males can reach weights of 400 to 700 pounds; females can weigh 250 to 400 pounds. There are only about 400 Amur tigers (formerly known as Siberian tigers) left in the wild. The Philadelphia Zoo, in addition to participating in the AZA breeding program, works to save Amur tigers in the wild through support of the Tigris Foundation.


What should the zoo name Kira and Dmitri's three cubs? Submit your ideas in a comment below.

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