Banham Zoo welcomes birth of two tiger cubs

One of the two tiger cubs born at Banham Zoo.

One of the two tiger cubs born at Banham Zoo. - Credit: Banham Zoo

Banham Zoo has announced the safe arrival of two Amur tiger cubs.

Following a successful genetically matched conservation programme pairing, the birth follows two years of careful planning.

The mother tiger, Mishka, had been identified as a genetically compatible mate for the male tiger, Kuzma, who was bred at the zoo 13 years ago.

Mishka moved to Banham Zoo in May 2021 from Woburn Safari Park, as part of the European Breeding Programme for the species.

Oliver Lewis-McDonald, team leader of carnivores at Banham Zoo, said: “Amur tiger mothers naturally seek out a suitable secluded den site to protect offspring from any potential predators and to shelter them form the worst of the elements.  

The mother tiger Mishka arrived at Banham Zoo in May 2021 as part of the species' European Breeding Programme.

The mother tiger Mishka arrived at Banham Zoo in May 2021 as part of the species' European Breeding Programme. - Credit: Woburn Safari Park

"We decided to use a different den design to still ensure the privacy Mishka needed for her cubs at this early stage of infancy.  

"Both cubs look to be developing very well and every day they are moving around with more ease."

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After spending a few weeks settling into their new surroundings, the cubs will be vaccinated, microchipped, and sexed by keepers. 

Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers,  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.

The two tiger cubs were born at Banham Zoo two weeks ago.

The two tiger cubs were born at Banham Zoo two weeks ago. - Credit: Banham Zoo

They are classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and hunting, with only around 500 thought to be left in the wild.   

Claudia Roberts, CEO at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “We are thrilled at the safe arrival of these two incredible cubs.

"Conservation is at the heart of everything we do.

"The beautiful result of a successful match for Mishka and Kuzma reaffirms and strengthens our resolve across the society to protect these animals. 

“Both these new arrivals and our other most recent addition – a female cheetah cub at Africa Alive – are a promising step forward in our long-term vision and commitment to a wealth of conservation projects. 

“Tigers are often described as strong and resilient, which we feel is reflective of Banham Zoo and how it has survived over the last 18 months. 

"After a challenging year for all, these tiger cubs represent a new hope.”

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