Three Endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

14 October 2014 | Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium News Release

Tiny tigers, each weighing about 3.5 pounds, are healthy and nursing, and Jaya is an excellent mom
TACOMA, Wash. – The three rare Sumatran tiger cubs born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium last week are all females, zoo General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck announced this morning. The 6-day-old cubs are nursing eagerly, and tiger mom Jaya is taking excellent care of them, Goodrowe Beck added. As the days go by, they’re also becoming more mobile and moving around their den box a bit.

“Each weighs about 3.5 pounds, and all three appear to be healthy,” head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said. When fully grown, they’ll weigh around 200 pounds.

The cubs were born early last Wednesday to Jaya, 11. Malosi, 6, is the father.
“Jaya is a very attentive mother to her cubs,” Goodrowe Beck said. “She’s patient with them as they nurse and spends time grooming them.”

The new family remains behind the scenes at the Asian Forest Sanctuary area of the zoo.
Zookeepers are keeping close watch on them via video cameras. The footage shows the cubs venturing a short distance away from their mom, then slowly, haltingly finding their way back on wobbly legs. They also squirm around as they move over one another while nursing, sometimes tumbling over and then righting themselves. Their eyes are just beginning to show signs of opening.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, and each one is vitally important,” said Goodrowe Beck, who is vice chair of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® for Sumatran tigers. The three cubs bring the species’ population to 80 – its largest number since the SSP began in the late 1980s. There is now an equal number of males and females, 40 each, in North American zoos.
A scant 300 remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, their population decimated over the years by habitat loss and poaching.

Keepers in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary area will work in coming days on a slate of prospective names for the tiny tigers. Later this month, members of the public will be invited to vote on the names via an online survey.

They will remain behind the scenes at the zoo for at least a month, giving mom and cubs time to bond and the newborns time to nurse, grow and reach steady mobility.

Still photographs and video clips of Jaya and her cubs in their den will be periodically made available on zoo grounds, at the zoo website, and on the zoo’s Facebook page at And there is a YouTube video posted here:

“We encourage visitors and others interested in Sumatran tigers to learn more about the perils they face in the wild,” Goodrowe Beck said.

Information on tiger conservation and how to donate on behalf of wild tigers is available at and on the Tiger Conservation Campaign website at

In addition to Jaya, Malosi and the three newborns, Point Defiance Zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary area is home to Sumatran tigers Bima, 4, Dumai, 2, and Kali, 18 months. Malayan tiger Berani, 2, also lives at the zoo.

Malosi, Bima, Dumai, Berani and Kali rotate on and off exhibit in the Asian Forest Sanctuary. Dumai and Berani, who have grown up as adopted brothers, are usually on exhibit together.

Kris Sherman: 253-226-6718 or
Whitney DalBalcon: 253-278-6343 or


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium, promotes responsible stewardship of the world’s resources through education, conservation, research and recreational opportunities. The zoo, a division of Metro Parks Tacoma, is accredited by the Association

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Find organizations saving endangered tigers at Saving Endangered

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