Rarest of Tiger Gives Birth To Two Adorable Cubs at CNY Zoo
Two of the rarest tiger cubs have been born at a Central New York zoo.
The Amur tiger cubs, native to northeastern China a Siberia, call Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse home. One male and one female were born to mother Zeya and father Thimbu on April 29.
Their wild population is estimated to be less than 400, making them one of the rarest species of large cats. The birth of healthy Amur tiger cubs is an invaluable milestone in the recovery of this rare animal’s population.
This is the first litter of cubs for Zeya and Thimbu, a moment zoo specialists have been waiting for.
"When Zeya came to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, we had high hopes for this day,” said Ted Fox, executive director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. “It was always our goal for Zeya to have cubs, but so much had to happen before that was a possibility."
Abandoned Tiger Becomes Mother
Adult tigers can be unpredictable and aggressive in the wild. What happens when they are hand raised? Zeya never saw what a mother Amur tiger provides for her cubs. She didn't even have a mother. She was rejected along with her sister Reka and was taken in by another zoo when she was just a cub herself.
Unlike her mother, Zeya bonded with her cubs immediately.
“For Zeya, motherhood was completely instinctual,” Zoo Curator Dan Meates said. “It’s not often that you get to witness an Amur tiger become a mother, and even rarer to observe one that was raised by humans doing such a good job of raising her own cubs.”
Amur Cubs Exhibit
The only way to see Zeya and her adorable new cubs will be on a live camera feed in the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Animal Health Center. They won't be going on exhibit until the two cubs receive all their vaccinations, something that won't be done until they are 16 weeks old.
Until then, you can visit more than 700 other animals at the zoo at Burnett Park. Learn more at Rosamondgiffordzoo.org.