Taronga’s three new Sumatran Tiger cubs are the latest successes in in the Zoo’s breeding program that now stretches back over 30 years and five generations.
The cubs’ family tree spreads back to ‘Nico’ and ‘Meta’ which arrived at Taronga in 1979, producing male cub ‘Shiva’ in 1985.
‘Shiva’ bred with ‘Selatan’ from Melbourne Zoo, producing the male ‘Juara’ in 1995. ‘Selatan’, now a grand 21 years of age, is living at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Taronga brought French-born ‘Assiqua’ to the Zoo to breed with ’Juara’ in 2002 and the pair successfully produced a litter including ‘Jumilah’, the current cubs’ mother, in 2003.
‘Jumilah’s’ pairing with ‘Satu’ from a German Zoo produced this successful fifth generation of cubs from the Taronga blood-line.
Taronga has displayed Sumatran Tigers since the Zoo opened in 1916 and has bred over 30 of the tigers but it is sobering to realise that since 1916 when close to 100,000 tigers roamed the wild places from Bali to the Caspian Sea and east to the Amur River, today there is probably less than 2800 tigers of all sub-species left including just 400 Sumatran Tigers.
The success of the properly managed breeding program at Taronga provides an important insurance against the possible extinction of these iconic cats in the wild and inspires our visitors to help with the Zoo’s tiger conservation efforts.
Trans-generational breeding success doesn’t happen by accident. The careful genetic management of the breeding program by Zoo curators is the basis of the successes, coupled with the outstanding husbandry skills of the Zoos’ keepers.
The most obvious result is Taronga’s three healthy cubs and the message of hope their birth brings for wild tigers.