Four rare Sumatran tigers born at Oklahoma City Zoo

Four Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The cubs are the first Sumatran tigers born at the zoo, and officials nationwide are excited about the addition to the captive population. There are only 71 Sumatran tigers in North American zoos and about 230 in the wild.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: October 5, 2011

Four Sumatran tiger cubs have been born at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The cubs are the first of their kind born at the zoo, and they're some of the rarest tigers in the world.

The cubs — one male and three females — will be on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

They were born July 9 and are the first for mother, Suriya, and father, Raguno. The cubs now weigh about 30 pounds each.

Officials waited three months to announce the birth of the tiger cubs because they didn't want to tell the public until the animals were outside on display, said Alan Varsik, assistant zoo director.

“People would want to come here to see them, and we wouldn't want to disappoint,” he said.

Keepers let the cubs briefly explore their outdoor habitat earlier this week, but Tuesday was their first full day outside as a family.

The outdoor area has plenty of rocks and drop-offs, so supervisors wanted to be sure the cubs were agile and coordinated enough to be safe, said Jonathan Reding, supervisor of Cat Forest and Lion Overlook

The cubs will stay with their mother until they mature at about 2 years old. From there, the tigers may stay in Oklahoma or be assigned to other zoos, Reding said.

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AT A GLANCE

Sumatran tigers

by the numbers

Sumatran tigers are one of six living tiger subspecies. They live mostly on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are considered critically endangered.

71: number of Sumatran tigers in captivity in North America, including the four tiger cubs born this summer at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

230: estimate of the wild Sumatran tiger population.

10 to 15: average life span in years of a tiger in the wild.

3.5: average length in inches of a tiger's retractable claws.

250: weight in pounds of an average adult male, the lightest of the tiger subspecies.

20: average territory size in square miles per adult tiger.

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