Yesterday was International Tiger Day, a day to celebrate and recognize this beautiful, majestic species — and to remember that they are an endangered species that could one day go extinct without our help.
According to WWF, the number of wild tigers has dropped 95% since the beginning of the 20th century, with threats including habitat loss and poaching, and there are now less than 4,000 left in the wild.
But to celebrate the occasion, the Tulsa Zoo shared some great news: a newborn Malayan tiger cub, part of a critically endangered species, was born at their zoo earlier this month.
“This birth is a major milestone for the conservation of this endangered species,” the Tulsa Zoo wrote on Facebook.
The female cub was born on July 11, to mother Ava and father Tahan, the Tulsa Zoo wrote in a press release. She is the sixth Malayan tiger born in the zoo’s history.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Ava’s cub as the newest member of the Tulsa Zoo,” said Zoological Curator of Mammals Jordan Piha. “Our keepers and veterinary staff are monitoring both Ava and her cub around the clock. We’re happy to report both animals are doing well.”
The cub has been bonding with her mom, who has “shown signs of healthy bonding and maternal instincts.
A video posted by the zoo shows the mama tiger giving the 18-day-old “bundle of cuteness and energy” lots of love and attention:
The Malayan tiger, a tiger subspecies native to Peninsular Malaysia, is listed as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List, with a wild population of fewer than 200 tigers. Their threats include habitat loss due to development and agriculture projects in their native forests, as well as poaching.
The cub was born as a result of the Tulsa Zoo’s participation in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan, which aims to save this species though a sustainable population.
The cub marks the sixth Malayan tiger cub born at the zoo in their history.
The newborn isn’t available for viewing yet: the Tulsa Zoo says the cub and her mom will be in a separate area until they are “confident the cub can navigate the exhibits safely.”
But we’re sure that when she’s available for viewing, this cub will win visitor’s hearts — and hopefully inspire them to care about saving this greatly at-risk species.
What an adorable tiger cub, and an important step towards saving this species! Share this incredible news if you love tigers!