Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tiger Cubs Make Their Zoo Debut

(Photo by Julie Larsen, WCS)

BRONX, NEW YORK, September 5– The Tiger Mountain exhibit at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo roared with new activity as three Amur tiger cubs made their public debut.

The cubs were born to mother Katharina and father Sasha. These tigers were bred by recommendation of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic and demographic stability of the tiger population in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure its long-term viability of the species.

The one male and two females in the litter each weighed an estimated two-and-a-half to three pounds at birth and now weigh approximately 45 pounds. Katharina is 13 years old, and her last litter of cubs was born in May 2010. Sasha is 15 years old, and this is his first litter.

The three cubs will be on exhibit with their mother intermittently for the first few weeks as they acclimate to their surroundings.

“The birth of a rare species like Amur tigers is always an exciting time at the Bronx Zoo,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Bronx Zoo Director. “The cubs will play a vital role as representatives for their wild relatives – inspiring zoo visitors to learn more about the threats these majestic animals face in the wild and what we can do to protect them.”

In celebration of the debut of the three tiger cubs, the Bronx Zoo is offering $3 off the purchase of each Total Experience Ticket purchased online. Visit for more information and to purchase a ticket to visit the cubs.

Amur tigers are also known as Siberian tigers. They are found in the Russian Far East and northeastern China. Male Amur tigers are the world’s largest cat and can grow to weigh 650 pounds. 

Tigers are in trouble. In the last 100 years, the global wild tiger population has plummeted 97 percent to just 3,200 – 1,000 of which are breeding females. Once found in 30 countries across vast areas of Asia, tigers are now just found in scattered fragments across 10 countries.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is on the ground saving wild tigers right now by implementing a “Source Site” strategy to reverse the downward trend. Source Sites are areas in the wild where viable populations of breeding females exist and have suitable habitat to support population growth. Forty-two Source Sites scattered across Asia have been identified as the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of tigers.  A WCS delegation is currently attending the World Conservation Congress in South Korea from Sept. 6-13 to fight for tigers and other species at risk from extinction.

As the global leader in tiger conservation, WCS has been conducting ecological studies on tigers since the 1960s and has a long history of protecting these big cats through the establishment of protected areas, increasing enforcement against poaching, and public education.  Wildlife Conservation Society researchers continue their work across Asia safeguarding tigers throughout their range.

For more information on the study and how to help WCS save tigers in the wild, visit

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