MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Too cute alert! Zoo Miami is excited to announce the birth of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger.READ MORE: Federal Government's N95 Masks Distribution Starts Monday
The single male cub, weighing close to three pounds, was born on Saturday, November 14th, and has been in seclusion with his mother since that time, according to Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill.
This is the first birth for the 4-year-old female named “Leeloo” so extra precautions are being taken to isolate and protect mother and cub in hopes that a strong bond can be established. First time mothers are often at high stress levels and it is not uncommon for them to abandon their cubs or even kill them should they feel any disturbance.
This is the first Sumatran tiger born at Zoo Miami and only the fourth born in the United States in 2015. There are only 70 Sumatran tigers living in U.S. zoos.READ MORE: Mark Rosenberg Acknowledges He Resigned As FIU President Because ‘I Caused Discomfort For A Valued Employee’
The mother was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo in July of 2011 and arrived at Zoo Miami in December of 2013. The 7-year-old father, named “Berani,” was born in the San Francisco Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in August of 2013.
There are believed to be less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild where they are found in forested areas on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Their biggest threats are habitat loss to palm oil plantations and poaching. They are the smallest subspecies of tiger with males reaching up to 300 pounds and females closer to 200 pounds.
The next several weeks are critical to the survival of this cub. During that time, it will remain isolated with its mother in a secluded den with little or no contact from staff. Most observations are being done through closed circuit television.
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The cub was quickly separated from its mother to determine weight, sex, and general condition but procedures are being kept to an absolute minimum until staff feels that the cub and mother are stable and well bonded.