Endangered tiger cubs confirmed as brother and sister by Banham Zoo

Seven-week-old Amur tiger cubs begin to explore their enclosure with first time mum Mishka at Banham Zoo

Seven-week-old Amur tiger cubs begin to explore their enclosure with first time mum Mishka at Banham Zoo in Norfolk. - Credit: PA

Two endangered tiger cubs born at Banham Zoo have been confirmed as brother and sister.

First-time mother Mishka, aged six, gave birth to the pair at Banham Zoo in Norfolk on October 7.

The Amur tiger cubs have yet to be named, and keepers announced their genders this week – with one male and one female.

There are thought to be around 500 Amur tigers left in the wild, with the species classed as endangered.

Mishka moved to Banham Zoo from Woburn Safari Park in May as part of the European Breeding Programme for the species, intended to protect endangered animals from extinction.

Seven-week-old Amur tiger cubs begin to explore their enclosure with first time mum Mishka at Banham Zoo

Seven-week-old Amur tiger cubs begin to explore their enclosure with first time mum Mishka at Banham Zoo in Norfolk. - Credit: PA

She had been identified as a genetically compatible mate for Banham Zoo’s resident male Amur tiger called Kuzma, aged 13.

Amur tigers are the largest of the world’s big cats as well as the heaviest.

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Adult males can weigh up to 360kg (56 stone 9lbs) and reach 2.3 metres (7 foot 6ins) in length.

They are solitary animals found primarily in Russia, where they live in forests and have large territories, which they scent-mark to communicate to other tigers.

Also known as Siberian tigers, they are one of nine subspecies of tiger – three of which are now extinct.

Due to its Siberian habitat, the Amur tiger has a long coat of fur and a large ruff around its jawline.

Amur tiger mothers seek out secluded den sites to protect their offspring from potential predators and to shelter them form the worst of the elements.

Amur tiger Mishka carries one of her seven-week-old cubs at Banham Zoo in Norfolk. The endangered cu

Amur tiger Mishka carries one of her seven-week-old cubs at Banham Zoo in Norfolk. - Credit: PA

Keepers at Banham Zoo provided Mishka with a purpose-built cubbing box inside one of the dens.

Oliver Lewis-McDonald, team leader of carnivores, said both cubs appear to be developing well.

Amur tigers are born blind, but the cubs have since opened their eyes and started to explore their outdoor enclosure for the first time this month.

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