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Rare Sumatran Tigers Born In Indonesia and US Zoos

Feb 22, 2016 01:10 PM EST
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A baby Sumatran tiger was recently born at a zoo in Indonesia, following efforts made by conservationists to increase the country's population of the critically endangered species. A recent video show's the one-week-old tiger pulling itself about its cage, getting a lay of the land. Zoo officials are not sure if the newborn is a male or female because its mother has been aggressive toward animal handlers. Baby and mother are joined by only 10 other Sumatran tigers living at the zoo. 

Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) are critically endangered and it is believed fewer than 400 remain in Indonesia, scattered throughout patches of forests on the island of Sumatra only. They are distinguished by heavy black stripes on their orange coats, and while they are the smallest subspecies of tiger, they can weigh upwards of 500 pounds.  The tigers are mainly threatened by deforestation and poaching. Sadly, scientists estimate the species could be extinct in the wild by 2020, unless increased measures are taken to protect them.

Despite increased conservation efforts, including strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching, a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products.  

In America, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park also welcomed three Sumatran tiger cubs – one male and two females – into the world about a month ago. Zoo officials are not presenting them to the public just yet, but they are healthy and thriving under their mother's care. 

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-Follow Samantha on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13

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