Four baby cubs have been born in the last two weeks, with the National Zoo in Washington D.C. announcing that its eight-year-old tiger Damai has given birth, and the Oklahoma City Zoo reporting that its six-year-old tiger Lola has given birth to triplets. The cub is the first for dad Sparky, who is 13 and arrived at the zoo previous year. They're also allowing time for the mom and cub to bond, which means it may be some time before veterinarians can determine the gender of the cub.
The zoo said keepers watched the birth via the closed-circuit camera and continue to monitor the cub.
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Damai has given birth once before, in 2013, to twins (Sumatran tigers typically have a litter of between one and three cubs). Sparky and Damai bred between February and March after a compatibility testing period, and zookeepers confirmed the pregnancy with a June 8 ultrasound.
The cub will not be on view at the zoo for several months until it has completed a series of health exams, received its vaccinations and successfully passed a swim test. Damai and Sparky have had visual access to one another through a mesh door (called a "howdy door").
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It is estimated that between 300 and 400 exist in the wild.