26 August 2013
After going into labour at 11am, she delivered the first cub at 5:07pm and the second at 5:39pm. Both Kaitlyn and her new arrivals are healthy and doing well, according to Australia Zoo head tiger supervisor Giles Clark.
"We're so pleased with how well the birth went. Kaitlyn is a fantastic first time mum" Giles said. "The cubs will spend the next few weeks bonding with mum. This will also ensure the cubs gets the colostrum and a head start while they are so small."
Before long Giles will take over as mum, doing all the duties from feeding to toileting.
"At this time the strong bonds are formed between handlers and cubs to allow us to interact with the tigers for their entire life and provide the long term enrichment of walks and experiences outside of their enclosures," Giles explained.
Kaitlyn is considered one of the most genetically valuable individuals in the world, as she was born to a mother who was wild born and a captive father. With less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, the birth of her cubs 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. The cubs' wild bloodline is an important factor. These cubs are possibly the most significant births for the program in recent history," Giles said.
The new cubs will also play an important role acting as ambassadors for their wild cousins.
"Tigers are listed as critically endangered, but 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."
Visitors to Australia Zoo will have the opportunity to see the cubs in late October, but if you can't wait that long you can watch a LIVE sneak peek of the cubs and mum.
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