Video: First tiger cub born at London Zoo in 17 years
Birth captured on hidden cameras
Hidden cameras have captured the birth of London Zoo’s first tiger cub for 17 years.
Five-year-old Sumatran tiger Melati gave birth to the cub on Sunday evening after a six-minute labour, the zoo said.
The pregnancy, which lasted around 105 days, was kept secret by zookeepers who kept a careful watch on the first-time mother through hidden cameras so they would not disturb her.
The cub was born six months after the opening of the new “tiger territory” at London Zoo, designed to encourage breeding of the critically endangered sub-species of tiger.
Zookeeper Paul Kybett said everyone at the zoo was “over the moon” about the birth.
“We were nervous about the pregnancy, as it was Melati’s first cub and we didn’t know how she’d react. When it came to her due date, we were all watching our monitors with bated breath.
“The actual birth happened very quickly and Melati’s maternal instincts kicked in immediately as she started licking the cub all over and it soon began wriggling around — we couldn’t have asked for a smoother birth.
“It’s still very early days, so we’re leaving Melati to take care of her adorable baby, and our cameras allow us to watch them both from a distance. So far she’s proving to be a doting mum,” he said.
Zookeepers do not know the sex of the cub, which is in the exhibit’s cubbing den with its mother, and expect it will remain off-show for several weeks before Melati is ready to show the youngster off to the world.
The cub is the grandchild of the zoo’s last tiger cub, Hari, the father of Melati. The cub’s father is five-year-old Jae Jae, who is playing no part in taking care of the new arrival.