More rare tigers born at Great Plains Zoo
The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls is continuing to produce litters of rare Amur Tiger cubs. Here’s the latest:
THREE AMUR TIGER CUBS BORN AT GREAT PLAINS ZOO
2010 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar and the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is celebrating it in a special way – with a new litter of Amur Tiger cubs.
Six-year-old Amur Tiger “Vika” gave birth to a litter of cubs on March 8. The Zoo’s animal care staff monitored the birth through video cameras and continue to observe the new family around the clock.
“These are important births to our Zoo and to the survival of the entire Amur Tiger population,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo.
Amur Tigers are extremely endangered; fewer than 400 Amur Tigers survive in the wild. The Great Plains Zoo is a key breeder toward the success of Amur Tigers; it now holds nine of only 130 Amur Tigers in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Amur Tigers are just one of 17 endangered species bred at the Zoo, including Snow Leopards, African Bongo Antelope, and Eastern Black Rhinoceros.
Vika and her mate were one of only 26 pairs recommended to breed during 2009-2010. In July 2009, Vika’s first experience giving birth resulted in an unusually large litter of six cubs. Seven-month-old “Callie” is the lone survivor of that litter. She continues to do well, now weighing 107 pounds and eating seven pounds of meat a day. Callie lives in the Asian Cat holding building and can be seen in the Asian Cat exhibit on sunny days when temperatures are above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just like human newborns, the cubs will spend much of their time sleeping, eating and settling in with their mother. The cubs are expected to be on exhibit, viewable by the public, by mid-summer.
The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with gates closing at 4 p.m. Visit the Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the Zoo and Museum.