The Dallas Zoo welcomed their first tiger cub, sharing the news of the birth of Sumini, a Sumatran tiger, on Tuesday.
Sumini is the first tiger cub in more than 70 years to call the zoo home. Her birth was a milestone occasion as she is part of the endangered species list with less than 700 of her kind still alive. Sumatran tigers were first listed on the IUCN Red List in 2008.
In what the Dallas Zoo called Big Cat News, Sumini was born on Aug. 2. She is named after those that work to protect her species.
“We are thrilled to announce that Sumatran tigers Sukacita (‘Suki’) and Kuasa are the proud parents of this adorable little cub, who we have named Sumini after the leader of a group of female rangers protecting the Sumatran tiger in the forests of Indonesia.”
“Sumini was born on August 2 weighing just 866 grams,” the statement added. “While she may be little, she is a BIG deal for both the Dallas Zoo, as our first tiger cub since 1948, and for her critically endangered species.”
Sumini’s arrival did not come without some challenges for the zoo. The tiger cub’s mother was having trouble producing milk with zoo staff concerned. The staff ultimately decided to intervene and care for the cub to ensure her survival.
Sumini is now on solid ground with staff feeding her baby bottles so that she gets the nutrients she requires.
“Each birth is a monumental win for ensuring the long-term survival of this species,” the Dallas Zoo shared on Facebook.
“Suki and Kuasa’s genes are under-represented within the [Association of Zoos and Aquariums]’s Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan — the group of experts responsible for maintaining the genetic diversity of the population in AZA-accredited zoos — making it even more important for Sumini to carry on these genetics for generations to come.”
For now, patrons of the zoo will have to wait to see Sumini. The zoo has decided to keep her protected for the time being as she grows in a protected area within the zoo.
Female Sumatran tigers on average weigh 200 pounds and can reach up to seven feet in length.