Minnesota Zoo Celebrates Birth of Endangered Amur Tiger Cub
Apple Valley, MN – June 25, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce the birth of an endangered Amur tiger cub.
Two cubs were born June 17, after an approximately 105 day gestation period. After observing the mother and cubs overnight, Zoo staff decided to pull the cubs for hand raising because the mother was not showing the quality of maternal care that staff felt she needed to successfully raise the cubs. Only one cub – the larger of the two and the second born – survived the critical first few days. Approximately two thirds of Amur tiger cubs survive the first 30 days. The female cub will remain off exhibit while Zoo staff cares for her.
This is the first offspring for both parents, mother, Angara (on-GAR-a) and father, Molniy (MOL-ni). The Zoo has set up a special live web cam to view the tiger cub.
The Amur tiger’s home range, reputation as a threat to livestock and humans, and value to poachers has led to its population decline. Around 1940, the wild Amur tiger population in Russia was estimated to be as low as 20 or 30. In 2005, scientists estimated that the population had recovered to 430-500 individuals, but it is thought that wild Amur tigers have declined since then to about 350. Concerted conservation efforts help protect these remaining endangered tigers from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss.
Minnesota Zoo staff also coordinates the Tiger SSP’s new Tiger Conservation Campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the plight of wild tigers and funding for their conservation. Since January 2012, the Minnesota Zoo and its young professionals organization, AZUL, have raised nearly $15,000 for this program in support of anti-poaching efforts in the Russian Far East, as well as the formation of a Tiger Health Support Program. The public can learn about and contribute to these efforts by visiting mnzoo.org/tigerssp/campaign and facebook.com/tigercampaign.