London Zoo staff were happy to confirm they have three ‘super strong’ Sumatran tigers in their care after the cubs’ first health check.
The triplets were given a clean bill of health after a nose-to-tail examination, including their eyes, heart and weight, as the guards handled “sharp claws” and “feisty characters”.
The staff were also delighted to discover the gender of the striped cubs – two males and a female – as their mother, a geisha, was waiting outside in the field while they received their first vaccinations.
Zookeeper Lucy Reed admitted that holding triplets stationary for their injections felt like “doing a huge workout.”
“Often we are not ‘practical’ with the animals we care for – in fact we do the exact opposite most of the time – so I was very excited to help carry the cubs, which is a huge privilege,” he said.
“However, I think it’s safe to say that the cubs didn’t feel the same – they are really very strong and they hold them in place to inject like they’re doing a massive exercise.
“It’s a really encouraging sign, because all the fidgeting and hissing is totally instinctive behavior and something we want to see them do.”
All three were fitted with a microchip during examination, ensuring that they could be easily and accurately identified as they were growing and adding their details to the records of the Global Breeding Program, where they would play an “important role” as their critically endangered species.
Their weight was 9.3 kg and 8.25 kg for the male and their sister 6.7 kg.
“This first health check is really important for the cubs,” ZSL veterinarian Dr. Ellie Melnes added.
“Not only is it an opportunity for us to really investigate their performance and how well they are growing, but their first vaccinations help boost a young immune system and keep them healthy and well.
“It is with great pleasure to say that we have three healthy – and very strong – cubs in our care.”
Cubs are now waiting for names after confirming their gender.