Chester Zoo has captured a rare moment on their CCTV cameras, and it’s beyond adorable. Since 7th January when Sumatran tiger twins were born to parents Kasarna and Dash, Chester Zoo cameras have been capturing the bonding process with their parents and each other.
Zookeepers say the new arrivals are yet to be sexed and will be named once they start to gain in confidence and venture outside, which experts estimate will be in early April. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all species of tiger, so when we say these twins are tiny, we mean tiny – literally the cutest ever.
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the most severe conservation category and highest priority, and according to carnivore experts, the birth is a significant step forward for the conservation breeding programme working to save the species from extinction. The expansion of unsustainable palm oil and coffee plantations has seen more than 90% of the Sumatran tigers habitat wiped out, bringing tigers into close conflict with the human population.
Dave Hall, Carnivore Team Manager at Chester Zoo, said: “We’ve been closely monitoring Kasarna on our CCTV cameras as she get to grips with motherhood and her first litter of cubs – it’s a real privilege and incredibly special to watch. She’s a great mum and is being very attentive to her new infants, keeping them snuggled up in the den and feeding them every few hours. It won’t be too long until they gain enough confidence to start venturing outside for the very first time as a family, which is really exciting.
“The birth of two more healthy Sumatran tiger cubs is another significant step forward in the long-term efforts to protect these incredible animals. One day, the pair will hopefully go on to themselves make a vital contribution to the endangered species breeding programme, which is now playing a critical role in preventing these majestic animals from becoming extinct.”
In India and Nepal, Chester Zoo’s conservationists are fighting to control illegal poaching and mitigate conflict between humans and tigers to improve the outlook for another subspecies, the Bengal tiger, pushing forward their commitment to preventing extinction and raising awareness of key conservation and environmental challenges.