SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – At eight weeks old, the San Francisco Zoo’s newest Sumatran tiger cub has proven to be a real mouthful for her mother, Leanne.
The rambunctious young cub went on public display Friday, to the delight of children who may be too young to realize how rare her critically endangered breed has become in the wilds of Indonesia.
“I guess there’s only 400 of them in the wild. That’s just, to me it’s really sad because it just shows that the deforestation of their land by humans,” said Greg Carroll, who hoped his daughter’s visit to the zoo would inspire a passion for animals.
There are actually fewer than 400 tigers on the island of Sumatra, said Corrine MacDonald, the zoo’s curator of primates and carnivores.
“Due to habitat destruction, due to direct poaching of the tigers, poaching of their prey,” she said, “we’re losing them so much in the wild that if we don’t have them in the zoos for visitors to experience and learn about, they won’t ever know anything about them.”
The young tiger cub certainly seemed ready for a romp, having recently discovered the stairs that lead to the upper level of the tiger enclosure. Despite her determination to climb, she was brought down every time in the mouth of her mother.
The young cub is not unlike any human toddler, said the zoo spokeswoman.
Whether Leanne was as exhausted as a human mother, she has clearly bonded with cub, said MacDonald, who observed that being a rare litter of one allows for an extra dose of mother-daughter bonding.
“It’s really clear they enjoy each other’s company. They play with each other,” she said. “It’s hard to say is it just because it’s one on one, or is it the factor of both girls.”
The tiger cub has not yet been named.
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