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Zoo's new stars battle to earn their stripes

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Mother Sigra keeps a watchful eye on one of her youngster at Dublin Zoo yesterday. The cub is one of two rare Sumatran tigers born to father Kepala and Sigra two months ago and will be the zoo's star attractions during the bank holiday weekend

Mother Sigra keeps a watchful eye on one of her youngster at Dublin Zoo yesterday. The cub is one of two rare Sumatran tigers born to father Kepala and Sigra two months ago and will be the zoo's star attractions during the bank holiday weekend

Mother Sigra keeps a watchful eye on one of her youngster at Dublin Zoo yesterday. The cub is one of two rare Sumatran tigers born to father Kepala and Sigra two months ago and will be the zoo's star attractions during the bank holiday weekend

THEY are only a few months old but these tiny tiger cubs face a major battle to save their species from extinction.

The cubs are a precious addition to Dublin Zoo. The Sumatran tiger is a critically endangered species with only an estimated 400 of the magnificent creatures still surviving in the wild.

The Sumatran cubs will be the 'big cats' of Dublin Zoo this bank holiday weekend with hundreds of excited families dying to catch a glimpse of them.

The pair were born in the early hours of May 29 and their mother Sigra and dad Kepala are keeping a close watch on them. They have yet to be named.

Spectacular

The male cub weighed in at 1kg at birth and the female at 0.85kg. Sigra has a strong maternal instinct, already proven with her previous cubs who are also part of the global breeding programme.

Dad Kepala is also playing an active role and taking his paternal duties seriously. Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel said staff were delighted with the "spectacular result".

"The bigger picture is, of course, that these cubs will help us to introduce our visitors to the plight of this critically endangered cat as well as making a huge contribution to the global breeding programme."

The keepers are thrilled with how the little siblings are progressing and are watching the cubs developing personalities.

The female is said to be a "very intelligent and inquisitive creature" while the male is already displaying his father's traits with a "boisterous nature" and striking appearance.

To celebrate this significant birth, Dublin Zoo is offering a family pass for two adults and two children, a tiger adoption pack and a guide book at the special price of €60 from now until the end of August.

There will also be special Sumatran tiger talks and tiger face painters free of charge over the long weekend.

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