Watch: Rare Sumatran tiger cub born in West Midland Safari Park
The amazing birth of a critically endangered baby Sumatran tiger has been captured on CCTV cameras.
The footage shows the tiny cub arriving in the early hours of 4 July at West Midland Safari Park, before mum Dourga tends to it.
It is the first tiger born at the park in 16 years and the first ever Sumatran in its 50-year history.
Head keeper of carnivores at the safari park, Chris Hodgkins, hailed the birth as a "milestone moment" for the species.
He said: “Sumatran tigers are critically endangered – the most threatened an animal can be.
“We hope that this birth not only goes some way towards the conservation of the species, but also raises awareness of the plight of wild tigers and the threats they face.”
Dourga, 11, was matched up with male tiger Nakal, 9, last August as part of a breeding programme to save the species from extinction.
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Hodgkins added: “Back in March, keepers observed Nakal and Dourga mating and following a gestation period of three and a half months, Dourga successfully gave birth to a cub in the early hours of the morning on 4 July.
“The keepers and I are over the moon, as not only has it been nearly 16 years since we have had tigers born at the park, but this is the very first Sumatran tiger cub to be born here in our 50-year history.”
The new cub is Dourga’s third baby, having previously birthed two others at her previous home, but this is the first time Nakal has become a father.
The week-old cub has not yet been named, but keepers will find out the sex at an eight-week health check and then a name will be chosen.
In June last year, London Zoo celebrated the birth of three Sumatran tiger cubs, Inca, Zac, and Crispin.
The triplets were given a clean bill of health after a nose-to-tail examination, including their eyes, heart and weight, as keepers contended with “sharp claws” and “feisty personalities”.
They weighed in at 9.3 kg and 8.25 kg for the two males, and their sister at 6.7 kg.
The Sumatran tiger, whose habitat is the forests and jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia, is now critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.
There were estimated 1,000 Sumatran tigers in the wild in the 1970s, but today’s figures show around 300 left.
This means the species faces the real threat of extinction within the next decade if numbers continue to decline.