Since opening its doors in 1978, the Minnesota Zoo has been a champion of tiger conservation – supporting efforts in the wild and playing a prominent role in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Amur tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP).
It’s with much excitement the Zoo announces this legacy continues. On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022, four Amur tiger cubs were born at the Minnesota Zoo under the watchful eye of the Zoo’s Animal Care and Health teams. Sadly, one cub did not survive, which is not uncommon in litters this size; however, the other three cubs quickly and successfully bonded with their mother, Sundari, or Dari for short.
Minnesota Zoo celebrates birth of rare Amur tiger cubs
“These cubs represent a major, positive step forward in our efforts to support the global population of Amur tigers,” said Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley. “Having three thriving cubs, and a mother who is successfully raising them is a true testament to the care and dedication provided by our incredible team of zookeepers and veterinary staff.”
Over the past month, the cubs – two males and one female – have been closely monitored as they continue to reach a number of positive milestones. They remain in a behind-the-scenes habitat with Dari – who has shown her patient maternal instinct while caring for them.
“Dari has proven to be an incredible mother to these cubs,” said Dr. Taylor Yaw, Chief Animal Care, Health, and Conservation Officer. “She has been attentive, nursing around the clock, and keeping the cubs groomed and by her side. The deep bond and trust that our keepers have formed with Dari over the years has allowed us to monitor the cubs and safely separate her from the cubs in order to perform routine health checks.”
The three cubs are an exciting addition to our Zoo community and an important birth for the conservation of the species. One of the most endangered animals in the world, only about 500 Amur tigers remain in the wild. Coordinated breeding and conservation efforts between accredited institutions is critical for the survival of the global species.
As with any newborns, these first months will prove critical for the cubs and their development. We remain cautiously optimistic and anticipate the cubs will be introduced to their public habitat in mid to late July.