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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tiny tiger triplet too timid to take a bow

-Trio born in August after father flown in especially from Germany
-There are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world

By Oliver Pickup

Scroll down for a video of the triplets at Taronga Zoo

Scaredy cat: One of the two-month-old cubs hides in the foliage, away from the flashes of cameras at Taronga Zoo

If you went Down Under to this Australian zoo today, you would have been in for a triple surprise.

Because three extremely rare Sumatran tiger cubs were wowing both young and old visitors on their debut appearance at Taronga Zoo, in Sydney.

Two of the cute triplets were curious at all the human eyes tracked on them as they happily played beside their mother.

But one big scaredy cat was so timid it had to hide behind some foliage, away from the many camera flashes and excited children looking in to the enclosure.

With wide eyes the two-month-old cub wonders who on earth all the people taking photos are

Mummy's favourite: Two of the more curious cubs perch by their mother, under the gaze of the many viewers

The mother, Jumilah, took the attention in her stride, and perhaps her two-month-old cubs have been keeping her busy as at one point she produced a yawn which showed her huge mouth.

She gave birth to the two male and one female cubs on August 20, after mating with father Satu.

And the cubs will only be on show for short periods of time, as they tire very quickly for the moment, but as they age, they will spend more time on view in their enclosure.

Sumatran tigers can only be found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra - the only remaining stronghold for tigers in the country.

Experts estimate that there are just 400 such tigers left in the wild - and only 7 per cent of their original habitat remains, which is why these triplets are so important.

Sumatran tiger Jumilah enjoys a big yawn and shows all her teeth - her little ones are obviously tiring her out

Jumilah is seen playing with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo

Here's licking at you, kid: Mother Jumilah is seen pruning one of the tiny cubs

Louise Ginman, carnivore supervisor at Taronga Zoo, said she was purring with delight that all three tigers are healthy and strong, after Satu had been flowing in from Europe to breed with Jumilah.

'Satu was brought to Taronga from Germany as part of the international zoo breeding program for Sumatran tigers to mate with our Taronga-born female Jumilah and introduce new genetics to our region,' she told Manly Daily.

'The female cub is really cheeky, with a lot of attitude and is the first one to check out new things.

'The boys are more cautious, but they’re growing in confidence and body size each day, now tipping the scales over 6kg each.'

Ms Ginman continued: 'There are only about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, so to see them here at Taronga and know that they are part of a safety-net in case wild populations go extinct is pretty remarkable.'



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