For Immediate Release
September 5, 2007
|For More Information:
TWO RARE SIBERIAN (AMUR) TIGER CUBS, A BOOST FOR SPECIES, NEED NAMES!
September 5, 2007, Toronto:
Toronto Zoo today announced the second precious litter of two cubs born to Siberian (Amur) tiger parents Tatiana and Tongua. The babies, a male and a female, were born on July 13th. Also known as Amur tigers, as few as 450 of these big cats may remain in the wild, where they are critically endangered due to habitat encroachment and hunting. The couple's first litter of two cubs was born in 2000. A total of 29 Siberian tiger cubs have been born at the Toronto Zoo. The Zoo also announced the Toronto Zoo and TVOKids Name the Baby Siberian Tigers Contest today. The Contest runs from Wednesday, September 5th to Wednesday, September 19th. During that time, name suggestions can be entered online at TVOKids.com or participants can pick up a ballot at Toronto Zoo Guest Services. A special panel of Zoo Animal Care staff and Zoo kids will narrow down the submissions to the top five female and top five male names. To vote on your favourite names visit TVOKids.com from September 21st to October 2nd. The winning names will be announced LIVE on TVOKids on Thursday, October 4th. Please visit torontozoo.com and TVOKids.com
for more details.
The eleven year old mother Tatiana came to Toronto from the Calgary Zoo in 1999 and the fourteen year old father Tongua arrived from Moscow in 1994. "The cubs are doing well and are actually quite chubby," says Oliver Claffey, Animal Care Supervisor for the Zoo's Eurasia section. "Tatiana is an excellent Mom."
The Toronto Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) which currently has 147 Siberian (Amur) tigers in the North American program. "The birth of these cubs will help secure a genetically healthy population", says Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals at the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo also supports tiger conservation in the wild through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund. "It's all about conserving the species both in captivity and in the wild," says Franke, "and we are very proud of the great conservation work we are doing here at the Zoo."
The largest of all the tiger subspecies, with the males weighing up to 272 kg, Amur tigers once lived throughout northeastern China, the Korean peninsula, northeastern Mongolia, and southeastern Russia. Now the majority of the wild population is largely confined to a very small part of Russia's Far East. A solitary animal except during the mating season, these tigers only reproduce once every two to three years and only about 50% of the cubs will survive their first two years. The gestation period is 93 to 111 days with an average of two to four babies being born. The mother will stay with her young for two to three years. Sexual maturity is attained in the third or fourth year.
With their striking colouring, Siberian (Amur) tigers are a masterpiece of adaptation to their habitat. These powerfully built animals are expert jumpers, swimmers, and may walk as much as 30 km daily to look for prey.
Our two rare new Zoobabies are on display in the Zoo's Eurasia section with Mom Tatiana and Dad Tongua. Come visit them to get the creative juices flowing for appropriate names for our newest Zoo tigers!