Monday, September 13, 2010

Pittsburgh Zoo Gets Three New Tiger Cubs

An Amur tiger at the Pittsburgh Zoo Aquarium has given birth to three cubs, the tiger's third litter at the zoo since 2006.

Zoo officials announced Monday that Toma, a 12-year-old, gave birth to all three cubs Sunday from 2:05 p.m. to 4:59 p.m.

Toma and her cubs are being monitored by an infrared camera in their den. Visitors will be able to see that video on a monitor, but the cubs won't be allowed in public until they are big enough to navigate a moat in their display area. Zoo officials will not have contact with the cubs for several weeks to allow the mother to bond with her babies. At that time they will check the health of the cubs and determine their sex. They will remain unnamed until then.

Toma gave birth to three cubs in August 2006, and one died five weeks later though she raised the other two. She gave birth to a single cub in 2009, but rejected him. Zoo CEO Barbara Baker says Amur Tigers usually have litters of three cubs and they often lose one of those cubs. However, Backer says the new cubs are all looking good right now.

Visitors to the zoo will be able to see the video from the den until the cubs are put on display. Backer says that will come some time around Christmas.

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