Minnesota Zoo Tiger Cubs to Make Public Debut
Naming contest continues via Zoo’s Facebook page
Apple Valley, MINN – October 9, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce that its two Amur tiger cubs will go on exhibit for the first time this morning.
The first cub was born at the Minnesota Zoo on June 17. The second cub, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on July 1, came to Minnesota on July 19. The cubs, both female, were brought together to ensure the best socialization – both were hand-reared because their mothers did not successfully nurse them. Now, nearly off bottles and growing strong, the cubs are ready to go on exhibit for part of the day in the Tiger Lair along the Zoo’s Northern Trail.
The pair has become quite the sensation over the past few months, as viewers from around the globe have been watching them grow up via the Zoo’s live Tiger Cam (no longer available now that the cubs are going on exhibit), and discussing them via Facebook and Twitter. The Zoo is also conducting a tiger naming contest through Facebook (facebook.com/mnzoo).
Amur tigers, managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), have been part of the Minnesota Zoo’s Northern Trail since the Zoo opened in 1978. The Minnesota Zoo’s Director of Conservation, Dr. Tara Harris, coordinates the Tiger SSP and its new Tiger Conservation Campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the plight of wild tigers and funding for their conservation. Nearly $50,000 has been raised to date for wild tiger conservation efforts. To learn more about and contribute to these efforts, visit mnzoo.org/tigerssp/campaign and facebook.com/tigercampaign.
Said Harris, “We’re excited for the public to get to know these tiger cubs and learn more about their wild counterparts. We hope to inspire people to care and to help secure a future for this highly-endangered species.”
The Minnesota Zoo is one of 14 coalition members that comprise the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (altaconservation.org). These coalition members pool their resources to help support conservation efforts for wild Amur tigers and leopards. Since 2007, the Minnesota Zoo, in cooperation with other North American zoos, has helped raise nearly $100,000 for these efforts.
About Amur Tigers
The largest of all cats and one of six remaining tiger subspecies, the Amur tiger is a top predator of far eastern Asia. Its thick fur and padded paws protect it against the extreme cold and icy winds of winter, while its stripes help camouflage it. Amur tigers are carnivores, eating mostly large mammals such as deer and wild boar. They will travel over extensive forest territories in search of food. With its stealth, speed, and sheer strength, the Amur tiger is well-suited to its role as a hunter.
The Amur tiger is endangered primarily due to poaching and habitat loss, though disease is an emerging threat. 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 are important for protecting these remaining endangered tigers.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).