- Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:10
Here at Flamingo Land we’re delighted to announce the birth of three Sumatran tiger cubs to resident mother and father Surya and Bawa. Born in the early hours on 22nd March, our zoo vet is delighted with their progress, allowing the triplets to be released into an open enclosure from 21st May. The cubs will stay with their mother for up to two years. They’ll then be transferred to other zoos as part of the international breeding programme for this critically endangered species.
“This is fantastic news for the European Endangered Species Programme and really shows the effectiveness of international collaboration,” comments Zoo Manager Ross Snipp. “The Sumatran tiger could quite easily disappear from the wild within the next few decades, so it is essential that we maintain a captive population in zoos worldwide.”
Residents of Indonesia’s rainforests, their natural habitat is still being destroyed at a rate of three to six percent every year, making way for profitable palm oil plantations. This ongoing deforestation, along with illegal hunting, has made the Sumatran tiger one of the most endangered subspecies of tiger, with recent estimates suggesting a potential population of just four hundred remaining in the wild.
In an attempt to halt this decline, Sumatran tigers were made part of an international breeding programme. This involves over two hundred and fifty animals worldwide, including five at Flamingo Land, one of just three contributing zoos in the UK.
Bawa originally came from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent, and Surya from Paignton Zoo in Devon. The movement of Sumatran tigers involved with this programme are coordinated by a studbook keeper, with pairings carefully selected to maximise genetic diversity.
Still unnamed, the cubs will soon be given traditional Indonesian titles like their parents; Bawa is an island just off the coast of Sumatra whilst Surya is Indonesian for Sun.