Two more to roar about—Zoo welcomes 2 Tiger Cubs
The Toledo Zoo has announced the birth of two Amur tiger cubs on Monday, September 26, 2011 to father Strannik and first-time mother Marta. The cubs’ gender(s) have not yet been determined, and they are not scheduled to go on exhibit until some time in January, 2012. These initial months allow the cubs to become fully mobile and have full protection from their initial vaccinations; weather and exhibit conditions could also affect the date of their public introduction.
“Marta appears to be doing a really good job caring for the cubs, but we remain cautious because litters to first-time mothers often do not survive due to poor mothering skills,” Dr. Randi Meyerson, curator of mammals, said. “So far Marta is displaying very good maternal behavior.” Average litter size for Amur tigers is two to four cubs.
The cubs are the second generation of Amur tigers born at the Zoo. Their mother, eight-year-old Marta, was born at the Toledo Zoo in May, 2003. In early summer 2011, the cubs’ father, eight-year-old Strannik, arrived from the Erie (Penn.) Zoo, on loan from the Toronto Zoo. Although exhibited together throughout the summer, Strannik and Marta were separated about a month before the cubs were due. The cubs will remain with Marta for at least two years.
Strannik and Marta’s breeding was recommended by the Amur tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) coordinates the SSP program, a collaborative breeding and conservation initiative to ensure that the population is healthy and genetically diverse. The Toledo Zoo participates in more than 30 SSPs.
Amur tigers, formerly known as Siberian tigers, are the largest tiger subspecies, and about 143 Amur tigers live in about 53 AZA-accredited zoos. Originally, eight subspecies existed; three of those subspecies are now extinct. The five remaining subspecies, including the Amur tiger, are critically endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation as well as poaching of both tigers and their prey.
The Toledo Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located on the Anthony Wayne Trail (US 25), four miles south of downtown Toledo. Visit toledozoo.org or call (419) 385-4040. Lucas County residents are admitted free of charge each Monday from 10 a.m. to noon. ID showing proof of residency is required.
On the Internet: http://www.toledozoo.org/newsroom/index.html