THREE of the world’s rarest tiger cubs were given a clean bill of health at London Zoo today.
The Sumatran tiger cubs had their first ever health check, captured on video, where keepers were able to determine their sexes.
Following the examination, the triplets were revealed to be two males and a female.
They were born to five-year-old Sumatran tigress Melati in February after a 106-day pregnancy. They new arrivals came less than six months after the death of the zoo’s first Sumatran tiger cub, also by Melati, in 17 years.
The cubs were also vaccinated and micro-chipped by a team of two keepers, a vet and a veterinary nurse from the zoo.
Nic Masters, head vet at London Zoo, was happy to report that the tigers were all in “rude health”.
“It’s quite difficult to physically examine them. They’re already pretty feisty and very strong, and there’s a bit of struggling and growling going on. Actually holding them to look at things in detail and listening to their hearts is a bit tricky.
“Everything looked to be in good working order. They’re in excellent body condition,” he added.
A critically endangered species, there are estimated to be only 300 individual wild Sumatran tigers in the world.
The triplets join their six-year-old father, Jae Jae, who can also be seen at London Zoo.
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Zookeeper Paul Kybett said: “It was so exciting to finally find out that we have two boys and a girl, but it’s also really important for us to give them their first health check and their vaccinations - which helps to boost their young immune system.
“The micro-chip provides a simple but effective way of identifying the cubs in the future, and their details can now be added to the world wide conservation breeding programme for Sumatran tigers - which one day they will play a vital role in.
“While I was so excited to see the cubs, I can’t say they were thrilled to see us - but it was actually a really good thing to see them wriggling and hissing at us, they were showing off a perfectly natural behaviour.”
Having established their sex, the search for names for the 10-week-olds will now begin. London Zoo’s keepers will be running a competition with Channel 5’s Milkshake programme, with the winner helping to choose names for the triplets.