30 July 2013
Australia Zoo is thrilled to announce Kaitlyn the Sumatran tiger is again pregnant, expecting a litter of three cubs to be born at the Zoo next month.
According to Australia Zoo's head tiger supervisor, Giles Clark, the anticipation of new cubs has been building since Ramalon, the cubs' 18-year-old father, showed positive fertility results last year.
"When the tigers began mating in early March, we were very excited to say the least!" said Giles.
Kaitlyn is considered one of the most genetically valuable individuals in the world, as she was born to a wild mother and captive father. With less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, the pregnancy is a significant win for the future of the species.
"Not only will these cubs ensure the survival of the species in captivity, but they will also provide genetic diversity among captive tiger populations. Kaitlyn's wild bloodline is an important factor," said Giles.
The gestational period for a Sumatran tiger is approximately 110 days, and the crew is expecting the pitter-patter and pounce of tiny paws in late August. Visitors to Australia Zoo will have an opportunity to see the cubs later in the year.
"The best way to keep up to date with news on the tiger cubs is on Australia Zoo's Facebook page," Giles said.
The new cubs will also play an important role acting as ambassadors for their wild cousins. "It takes just $5 to save a tiger in the wild for one day. Over the past decade, visitors to the Zoo have helped raise $1.3 million to support our tiger conservation projects around the world."
Kaitlyn's first litter was sadly lost in the early stages of her pregnancy in April this year; as with any animal there is always an element of risk that things won't work out as planned, but thankfully 5-year-old Kaitlyn's health was unaffected.
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