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April 13, 2024

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Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at Nashville Zoo

Go get 'em, tiger! For the first time, Sumatran tigers have been born at the Nashville Zoo.

Nashville Zoo’s ongoing dedication to animal conservation reached a significant milestone with the birth of three Sumatran tiger cubs. The three cubs were born to mother, Anne (pictured above), on Friday, October 20, 2023. Both mother and cubs are doing fine and bonding in a private den away from public view. This is the first time Sumatran tigers have been born at Nashville Zoo.

Cinnamon Williams, the Zoo’s Mammal Curator along with other members of the veterinary and animal care teams have been monitoring Anne’s labor, delivery and care through a camera mounted in the tiger’s den. “Anne is behaving perfectly,” said Williams. “She is being very attentive, and it appears all three cubs are nursing. Right now, we are staying away from that building as much as we can to give her some time to bond.”

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For the next several days, the Zoo team will continue to monitor Anne’s maternal activities while slowly attempting to reintroduce the keeper’s daily routines back into Anne’s life. Eventually, keepers hope to coax Anne away from her cubs briefly so the Zoo’s veterinary team can go in and perform a brief exam on the cubs to determine weight, sex and overall health. “If everything goes well, Anne will raise the cubs for the next few months until she’s ready to bring them outside for everyone to see,” said Williams.

Guests to Nashville Zoo can see Sumatran tigers at the Tiger Crossroads exhibit which opened in 2019 and received top honors in exhibit design from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2020.

About Sumatran tigers

Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica) are the only surviving tiger species native to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia. They are considered critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with only 400-600 left in the wild. The expansion of palm oil and acacia plantations have decimated the species’ native range, fragmenting the population into smaller, isolated areas. Human conflict and poaching also contributes to the decline as people kill tigers to protect livestock and use the animal’s skin, teeth, bones and whiskers for profit. Nashville Zoo financially supports the Tiger Conservation Campaign which fights to save habitats, curb poaching, eliminate the trade of tiger parts and reduce human/tiger conflicts.

There are around 235 Sumatran tigers under human care globally with just under 70 cared for in AZA-accredited zoos in North America. Nashville Zoo participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetically diverse populations for Sumatran tigers under human care.

To learn more about the Zoo’s Sumatran tigers, visit nashvillezoo.org.

 

 

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.