Hello, Tiger Cubs!

Posted at 10:43 am November 12, 2010 by Tina Hunter

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has two new, adorable additions to our cat family! In the wee hours of October 5, two 4½-pound Sumatran tiger cubs were born to our female, Delta. This is Delta’s third litter, and she continues to show us what an excellent mother she is.

There are definite, distinct differences between the cubs that we keepers use to note behavior changes or medical concerns. One cub hissed her way from birth to about two weeks old and has since come around; a few strategically placed scratches and she calms right down! She was also smaller and lighter than her sister, until recently. She has polka dots on the back of her neck, double rings on her tail, and what looks like a check mark over her right eye.

The other cub precociously opened her eyes by day two (day six for sis) and loves to sleep. In fact, she pretty much falls asleep anywhere. If we move her from her nap, she hisses a little and falls back asleep. When we pick her up to weigh her, she falls asleep in our arms. If we manipulate her paws to trim her claws, she…falls asleep! She has more dark on her fur than her sister, but is messier on her brow markings.

We have started desensitizing the cubs to various tactile stimuli from head to tail since day two. This is done in the hope that future vet procedures, such as those important vaccinations, won’t be such an event for the little ones. It will be a few more months before Delta introduces them to the Park’s large tiger habitat. Until then, we’ll continue to  enjoy watching them grow.

Tina Hunter is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read Tina’s previous post, Where Deer and Antelope Continue to Play. Read about the birth of Delta’s second litter in the post Tiger Cubs at the Wild Animal Park.

Note: We need your help to build a new home for our tigers. The Safari Park is raising funds to create a forested world that will feature three distinctive tiger habitats that include rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnapping. We’ll even have numerous viewing areas for you to get up close to see these beautiful creatures, because we know you want to! It will also be home for charismatic birds and captivating reptiles. To learn more or help us….

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10 Responses to “Hello, Tiger Cubs!”

  1. Margaret says:

    COngratulations on the new Tiger sisters. They look like a great addition to the Park. Delta is an experience terrific mom and will nuture them well. It is hard to believe that their siblings moved to Kansas two years ago.

  2. Dianna from Ohio says:

    I happen to stumble across the video of the 2 little cubbies. How cute are they? I’m a big bear fan but how could you not fall in love with these two? On the video watching you pick them up and snuggle and pet them… wow… tigers!! Can I have your job? 🙂

    Is Delta used to handling from the keepers or are the cubs first for this? I saw the video of the lion cubs from the AZ.. and the whole sister/pride thing. Are tigers solitary or do the females travel in packs and share in the raising of the cubs?

    After watching the VERY cute video of the cubbies, how could you NOT want to give towards the funds of their new exhibit? 🙂

    Moderator’s note: Delta is used to the routine of having her cubs handled. In the wild, she would be raising her cubs all by herself, no help from other female tigers.

  3. Megan Bulsara says:

    Are the tiger cubs on display yet? If not, when will the public be able to see them?

    Moderator’s note: They may be on exhibit in a month or so.

  4. Grace says:

    The video link in this blog entry led me to “The Festival of Lights” instead of the Sumatran cubs. I was, however, able to view the video via SDZ’s channel on YouTube.

    Moderator’s note Sorry the link led you astray! I’ve now posted the video directly below the post. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Lisa in Colorado says:

    They have such beautiful markings. Tigers are my favorite animal. And who can resist baby animals. Too cute!

    (off to read more about your fundraising . . .)

  6. Calvin says:

    Is The cubs father Utan? Where did her previous litter go ?

    Moderator’s note: Utan is the father of the two newest cubs. From their previous litter, male Kucing is on loan to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas; male Harimau Kayu and female Damai are still at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

  7. Annie Panda says:

    Oh my goodness THEY ARE ADORABLE!!

  8. Brenda in AZ says:

    Congrats to Delta and the keepers at the Park. They are adorable. I look forward to seeing the new babies in the future. I’ll be visiting in late December so hopefully ‘in a month or so’ will come before then!

  9. Don says:

    Congratulations on the arrival of the two new cubs. It was interesting watching the video to learn how you are acclimating them the Zoo world in order to put them on display. Continued Success with your program.

  10. zoodog says:

    Great blog, Tina! Thank you for the update on those amazing bundles of endangered joy. You must LOVE your job!