Three rare tigers were born at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley last month, and the zoo hopes to show them off to the public in late July.
According to a news release published Thursday, the Amur tiger cubs — two males and one female — successfully connected with their mother, Sundari, or Dari, who gave birth to them on Mother’s Day. A fourth cub died, which is usual in litters of this size, according to zoo authorities.
Dari has been “an great mother to these pups,” according to Dr. Taylor Yaw, the zoo’s chief animal care, health, and conservation officer.
“She’s been attentive, feeding around the clock, and keeping the cubs groomed and at her side,” Yaw said in a statement. “Over the years, our keepers have developed a strong relationship and trust with Dari, which has allowed us to observe the cubs and securely separate her from them for periodic health checks.”
Putin, the zoo’s 12-year-old male Amur tiger who died of heart failure during a routine medical treatment in March, father the cubs. Vera, an Amur tiger born in the Minnesota Zoo in 2017 and relocated to a zoo in Nebraska two years later, is his and Dari’s daughter.
Amur tigers are “among the most endangered creatures in the world,” according to zoo authorities, with less than 500 left in the wild.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Amur tiger Species Survival Plan includes the zoo’s tiger breeding program.
Amur tigers, sometimes known as Siberian tigers, are endemic to Russia’s Far East and China’s surrounding territories. According to the zoo, the name change matches a section of the animal’s existing wild habitat range near the Amur River.
The zoo will use social media to keep the public updated on the cubs’ growth, and authorities expect to return the tigers to their natural habitat in late July.