COLUMBUS, OH (WTNH)– An adorable trio of endangered Amur tiger cubs were born at a zoo in Ohio yesterday.
The triplets are all boys and were born at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in the early morning at only 2.5 pounds.
The news has gone viral not only because the baby animals are adorable, but also because this is great news for the critically endangered Amur tiger, also referred to as Siberian Tiger, population. According to the zoo, there are fewer than 400 left in the Russian Far East because of over-hunting of prey species, poaching for skins and body parts for traditional Chinese medicine and because of habitat loss.
There are only six living subspecies of tiger after three have already gone extinct.
The zoo says the tiger cubs are currently in an incubator and will be hand reared at the Animal Health Center after their mom, Irisa, failed to nurse them. The zoo used a remote feed to monitor the animals in their den before making this decision.
These are the first cubs for the 10-year-old female tiger Irisa, and the third litter for 11-year-old male tiger, Foil. Foil has since left the zoo for another one as part of a species survival plan. It was the hope of the zoo and the Tiger Species Survival Plan that the tigers would reproduce to keep a sustainable tiger population in human care.
There are currently 10 Amur tigers at the Columbus Zoo including the four cubs that were born there in 2013. The zoo is a long time supporter of the Siberian Tiger Project.
It is still unknown when zoo visitors will be able to see the cubs. However you can check out a video of them exploring their new surrounding below.