Dallas Zoo Announces First Tiger Cub Birth in 70 Years: 'Incredibly Thankful'
The Dallas Zoo is welcoming a rare new addition with the birth of a baby tiger, the first tiger cub born at the Texas zoo in over 70 years.
On Tuesday, the zoo announced the birth of Sumatran tiger Sumini — who was named after the leader of a group of female rangers who protect Sumatran tigers in Indonesia. The zoo last welcomed a baby tiger in 1948, making her arrival even more of a "big deal," the zoo posted on Facebook.
Sukacita ("Suki") and Kuasa, Sumini's parents, welcomed the new cub on Aug. 2. Initially, Sumini had a rough start, the zoo explained.
"Suki and her cub were closely monitored by animal care staff, and it became apparent that Suki was not producing enough milk to sustain the cub," the zoo wrote.
After consulting with tiger care experts from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the Dallas Zoo's zoologists and veterinarians chose to hand raise the cub.
"While hand-rearing is not ideal, we know this was the right move for both the cub and for Suki," the Dallas Zoo shared. "Our zoologists, veterinarians, and nutrition staff are working around the clock and in constant contact with the SSP to monitor her development and ensure she is getting the best care possible."
"We are incredibly thankful that Sumini is thriving under our care!" the zoo added.
While the zoo is thrilled to welcome their first cub in decades, Sumini's birth also marks "a monumental win for ensuring the long-term survival" of her entires species, the Sumatran tiger. According to the Dallas Zoo, only between 400 and 600 Sumatran tigers live in the wild.
And because her parents' genes are under-represented within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan, it's "even more important for Sumini to carry on these genetics for generations to come," the zoo explained.
Despite efforts in tiger conservation, habitat loss and poaching continue to threaten the species, which is critically endangered, according to National Geographic.