December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Hidden cameras have captured the birth of the first tiger cub to be born at London Zoo for nearly 20 years.
Zookeepers said they had kept the pregnancy under wraps so they could keep a careful eye on first-time mum Melati without disturbing her, by using secret cameras.
The cub’s birth - 17 years after the birth of its grandfather Hari - took place almost exactly six months on from the opening of ZSL London Zoo’s Tiger Territory, a £3.6million enclosure, home to Sumatran tigers Melati and Jae Jae.
The pair, who are the cub’s parents, are two of Europe’s most genetically important big cats. Only 300 Sumatran tigers exist in the wild.
Zookeeper Paul Kybett, who watched the birth live on September 22 via CCTV, said the birth went without a hitch.
“We are simply over-the-moon about the birth of the tiger cub,” he said.
“It’s a momentous occasion for everyone at ZSL London Zoo and a real cause for celebration.
“We were nervous about the pregnancy, as it was Melati’s first cub and we didn’t know how she’d react.
“When it came to her due date, we were all watching our monitors with bated breath.
“The actual birth happened very quickly and Melati’s maternal instincts kicked in immediately as she started licking the cub all over and it soon began wriggling around - we couldn’t have asked for a smoother birth!”
Melati and her cub, whose sex is still unknown, will remain hidden away for a few more weeks, but Jae Jae can still be seen at the Regent’s Park zoo.
Mr Kybett added: “It’s still very early days, so we’re leaving Melati alone to take care of her adorable baby, and our cameras allow us to watch them both from a distance. So far she’s proving to be a doting mum.”