CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has welcomed the arrival of a 2-month-old Malayan tiger cub from the Tulsa Zoo.
The female tiger cub named Indrah joins the two Amur cubs born in late December at the zoo—forming a social group of two endangered subspecies of tigers.
“Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Tulsa Zoo both recently celebrated the incredible births of endangered tiger cubs,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar in a news release. “Socialization of tigers at an early age is incredibly important and raising these cubs as part of a unique social group will allow them to develop skills and behaviors together.
Her arrival to the zoo was a collaborative effort between the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Tulsa Zoo and the Tiger Species Survival Plan Program (SSP), which works with over 230 zoos to ensure the highest care for tigers.
The zoo says despite efforts by caregivers, both the mother Amur tiger at the Cleveland Zoo and the mother Malayan tiger at the Tulsa Zoo did not demonstrate maternal bonding to support the survival of their offspring.
After intensive monitoring, zookeepers determined all three cubs were at risk. While they differ as subspecies, raising the Malayan cub with the two Amur tiger cubs allows for essential behavioral and social welfare, the zoo said.
“The decision to hand-rear cubs, and to transfer a cub, is never taken lightly. In this case it was clear the move was the best decision to ensure our cub would have an opportunity to benefit from being part of a social group. The transition also allows our zoo to continue to focus on our SSP breeding recommendation for our Malayan tigers in 2021, to ensure their sustainable populations in AZA-accredited facilities,” said Tulsa Zoo Vice-President of Animal Conservation & Science Joe Barkowski in a news release.
Adult Amur tigers are the largest among the different subspecies and the most tolerant of the cold. The Malayan tigers are a smaller subspecies of tigers found on the Malaysian peninsula and the southern tip of Thailand.
All three cubs are being hand-reared together by a special team of Animal Care experts behind-the-scenes at the zoo’s Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine. Once they are a few months old, they will make their home at the Rosebrough Tiger Passage.
Amur tigers are an endangered species and Malayan tigers have been deemed critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are an estimated few hundred left in their native regions.