West Palm Beach, FL - July 13, 2020 - Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is excited to announce, ‘It’s a boy, a girl, and a girl!’ The gender of the Malayan tiger cubs was officially confirmed by the Zoo’s director of animal health, Dr. Kathleen Woodie during the trio’s first medical check-up last week.
“We were able to give the cubs their first vaccinations and weigh them. I am happy to report they are healthy and thriving,” said Woodie. “They are nursing well and each one weighs around 10 pounds.”
The cubs were born May 12, to the Zoo’s resident tigers, Api and Kadar, as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. Gender is important to identify for future Species Survival Plans, as these tigers serve as a backup population for tigers in the wild. Palm Beach Zoo’s team of zoologists and veterinary staff collaborated on socialization behaviors with Api and Kadar leading to positive interactions and ultimately three healthy tiger cubs.
Api and the zoologists also have been working on behaviors that help her feel comfortable when temporarily distanced from the cubs, so the veterinary staff could enter the den in full personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform the check-ups on a routine basis. Just like human babies, measurements, health assessments and vaccinations are pretty regular for the first year.
“As practiced and expected, Api was calm while temporarily separated from her cubs in an adjoining bedroom. The animal care team worked quickly and reunited the family with mom as soon as we were finished. She checked them over and seemed satisfied with the results!” said tiger team zoologist Sherry Currens.
This procedure also allowed the zoologists to get some great close-up photos of the cubs. Tigers’ stripes are as individual and unique as human fingerprints. The cubs each have unique markings above their right eyes that help with identification. One female cub has a heart shape over her eye and the other has an abstract flower over hers. The male has three stripes above his that have been lovingly interpreted as a trident.
As their personalities are forming, the female with the heart stripes has taken an interest in mom’s feeding times, lapping up some drippings. The female with the flower stripes likes to fly solo and the male is very vocal and demanding of mom’s attention.
Api and the cubs will be viewable in the Tiger River Habitat sponsored by Braman Motorcars in September. Palm Beach Zoo posts weekly updates on Tiger Tuesdays on its social media @palmbeachzoo on Instagram and Facebook.