Sumatran Tiger Delilah’s trio of cubs are growing fast and feisty at Adelaide Zoo, well if that’s what you call rolling around on your tummy and nibbling mum’s tail!
The latest vision, taken by Senior Keeper of Large Carnivores and Ungulates, Arliah Hayward shows the one boy and two girls playfully climbing on top of mum inside their private indoor area.
“Delilah is such a doting mum,” said Arliah. “She is very patient with them despite them using her as a kind of play equipment. Their little teeth and claws are getting pretty sharp now but she puts up with their biting and climbing.
“The three cubs, born on the 21 Dec weigh between 5 – 6kg and are putting on about 500g – 1kg a week.
“When they’re not playing they’re either sleeping or eating meat; turkey mince seems to be their favourite. They’re also still suckling from mum.
“The little boy is the most vocal of the threesome and is playful with keepers. He’s also pretty confident and independent but he loves his mum and it seems the feeling is mutual.
“One of the girls, who has triangular markings on her head, has started to chuff to keepers and is very food obsessed.
“While the third cub, also a female, is extremely feisty!” Finished Arliah.
Adelaide Zoo hopes that the tiger cubs will come out into their exhibit in April. Just as in the wild, in the early months of life cubs tend to stick near their den.
Delilah ventures out on exhibit a couple of times a day, to eat and interact with Kembali (Dad to the cubs), who keenly waits to see her from the next-door exhibit.
As is the case in the wild, Sumatran Tigers are generally solitary animals only coming together to mate.
The arrival of the three cubs is a significant addition to the population of the critically endangered tiger.
With less than 400 thought to exist the in wild, the Sumatran Tiger is threatened by habitat loss and human interaction.
Visitors to Adelaide Zoo can learn more about the Sumatran Tiger and how shopping and using products that contain Certified Sustainable Palm Oil can make a big difference to this and other Sumatran species.