8-week-old tiger cub triplets make public debut at Point Defiance Zoo

05 December 2014 | Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium News Release

TACOMA, Wash. – Sumatran tiger triplets Kirana, Dari and Indah made their public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this morning, to smiles and oohs and ahhs from children and adults gathered to see them. The cubs and their mother, Jaya, are scheduled to be on exhibit at 11 a.m. daily. Their appearances are dependent on good

The cubs, all females, were born Oct. 8. They have been living behind the scenes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary area with their mother, Jaya, while they nursed and grew.

Now, at about five times their birth weights, with sturdy, steady legs and curious natures, they’re ready to meet the public.

They made their media debut Thursday morning, climbing over one another as well as mom, who carefully watched them as they scampered about the exhibit space. They playfully nipped at her face and ears. She nuzzled and groomed them. Occasionally, she picked one of the female triplets up by the scruff of her neck and carried it across a grassy area to another part of the exhibit.

Jaya patiently allows her cubs to nip and claw at her during some exercise time in one of the exhibit spaces in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary.

When the cubs tired after about an hour of romping and exploring, they settled down with mom in a warm spot and began nursing.

The cubs weighed between 2.5 and 3 pounds at birth. Now, each weighs around 17 pounds. In addition to mother’s milk, they are beginning to receive small amounts of meat in their daily diets.

They got their names three weeks ago following a public vote on several names proposed by zookeepers. Some 7,140 votes were cast.

Kirana, Indah, and Dari are derived from Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language. Kirana (keer-rana) translates to beautiful sunbeam; Indah (N-da), to beautiful one; and Dari (Dar-ee) is short for Ndari, meaning full moon.

The cubs already are showing distinct personalities, said staff biologist Telena Welsh, one of the zookeepers who cares for the tigers in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary area. Kirana is the “sassy” one who likes to run after her sisters and nip at them. Dari is more mellow and tends to hang back a bit from her sisters, Welsh said. Indah is a little bit feisty and very vocal, often using her voice to get attention from Jaya.

The cubs’ births (a cause for celebration) are part of the Species Survival Plan®, a managed breeding program for endangered species. They are the fourth litter for 11-year-old Jaya. Their father is Malosi.
Only about 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra, and their numbers are dwindling due to poaching and habitat loss. There are just 78 Sumatran tigers in accredited zoos in North America and roughly 400 in zoos worldwide.

“These cubs are small, but their ability to focus attention on the plight of tigers is huge,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, the zoo’s general curator, who also is vice chair of the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan® for North America.

“We know that when people come to see these cubs, they will use words like “cute” and “adorable” to describe them, but we also want visitors to see them as ambassadors for their species, which is threatened with extinction,” Goodrowe Beck said. “These cubs can help teach people about actions they can take to help tigers in the wild.”

For information on ways to help, go to www.pdza.org/save-tigers.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three Sumatran tigers in addition to Jaya, Malosi and the newborn cubs. Bima, 4, Dumai, 2, and Kali, 1, all were born at the zoo to Jaya. Berani, a 2-year-old Malayan tiger, also lives at the zoo.

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Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium, promotes and practices effective conservation on behalf of the world’s wildlife. The zoo, a division of Metro Parks Tacoma, is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA).

Contacts:
Kris Sherman, 253-226-6718 or kris.sherman@pdza.org
Whitney DalBalcon, 253-278-6343 or whitney.dalbalcon@pdza.org


For more information about endangered species go to Bagheera.com
Find organizations saving endangered species at Saving Endangered Species.com
For more information about endangered tigers go to Tigers In Crisis.com
Find organizations saving endangered tigers at Saving Endangered Tigers.com


Saving Endangered Tigers is Produced by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff

to Promote the Plight of Endangered Tigers and the Efforts to Save Them.