London Zoo staff were pleased to confirm they have a trio of “super strong” Sumatran tigers in their care after the cubs’ first health check.
The triplets were given a clean bill of health after a nose-to-tail examination, including their eyes, heart and weight, as keepers contended with “sharp claws” and “feisty personalities”.
Staff were also glad to discover the sexes of the striped cubs – two males and a female – as their mother, Gaysha, waited outside in the paddock while they received their first vaccinations.
Zookeeper Lucy Reed admitted holding the triplets still for their injections felt like “doing a mega workout”.
“It’s not very often we are ‘hands on’ with the animals we look after – in fact most of the time we do the complete opposite – so I was very excited to get to help hold the cubs, it’s a huge privilege,” she said.
“However, I think it’s safe to say the cubs didn’t feel the same way – they’re super strong already and holding them still for their injections felt like doing a mega workout.
“It’s a really encouraging sign though, as all the fidgeting and hisses are a completely instinctive behaviour and something we want to see them doing.”
All three were fitted with a microchip during the check, which ensures they can be easily and accurately identified as they grow and their details added to records for a global breeding programme, in which they’ll play “a significant role,” as their species is critically endangered.
They weighed in at 9.3 kilograms and 8.25 kg for the two males, and their sister at 6.7 kg.
ZSL veterinarian Dr Ellie Milnes added: “This first health check is really important for the cubs.”
“Not only is it a chance for us to really investigate how they’re doing and how well they’re growing, but their first vaccinations help to boost their young immune system and keep them healthy and well.
“It gives us great pleasure to say we have three healthy – and super strong – cubs in our care.”
The cubs now await names after confirmation of their sexes.