Three incredibly rare Sumatran tiger cubs born at London Zoo – and hidden cameras capture their every tiny move

Keepers say they ‘couldn't be more delighted with our new arrivals’

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Three of the world’s rarest tiger cubs have been born at London Zoo – and their first days have been captured in minute detail by hidden remote-controlled cameras.

Five-year-old Sumatran tigress Melati gave birth to triplets on 3 February, and they have remained hidden away together since in one of the zoo’s special “cubbing dens”.

The triplets are yet to receive names because keepers cannot get close enough to determine the cubs’ sexes, but one has been nicknamed “Trouble” because of his or her already boisterous behaviour.

Sumatran tigers are incredibly rare – while in the 1970s there were around 1,000 left in the wild, today they are believed to only number 300. If numbers continue to decline at the same rate, they face extinction within the next decade.

The cubs were all born within an hour of each-other early in the morning last month, after Melati’s 106-day pregnancy.

Their arrival comes less than six months after keepers were left “distraught” by the death of the zoo’s first Sumatran tiger cub in 17 years, which was found drowned on the edge of a pool in the enclosure two weeks after its birth.

  While mother Melati relaxes with her cubs, visitors to the zoo can still see six-year-old father Jae Jae in Tiger Territory, and there will be exclusive footage of the cubs on the zoo's YouTube channel throughout this month.

Zookeeper Teague Stubbington said: “We couldn't be more delighted with our new arrivals, and with how Melati is responding to her three cubs.

“We've been observing them 24/7, and one of us is always on duty to keep an eye on the little ones throughout the night. We've even been able to observe key milestones like their eyes opening and their tentative first steps.

“While we still don't know whether they're boys or girls, we're starting to see their personalities develop. We've nicknamed one Trouble, as it's much bolder than the others - it was the first to start exploring its den, and we've spotted it waking up its siblings when they fall asleep.”