Point Defiance tiger cub is being bottle-fed

Aug 29, 2012

Officials at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have decided to take a newborn Sumatran tiger cub from its mother and rear it by hand.

The cub, born August 22nd, is losing weight and not getting enough milk from its mother, Jaya.

The Zoo's head veterinarian, Dr. Karen Wolf, says the cub needs around-the-clock feedings with a special formula. The feedings should help the cub thrive and gain weight, but Wolf cautions the first several days will be critical to his well-being.

Zoo staffers say Jaya wasn't paying as much attention to this cub as she did to those in a litter she had two years ago. She kept leaving her den and the cub wasn't getting enough chances to nurse.

So far, Wolf says the cub is responding well to being bottle-fed. 

Zoo officials say the newborn cub at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the 74th Sumatran tiger in North American zoos. He is the sixth cub born in the Species Survival Plan this year.

In the wild, Sumatran tigers are native to the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia. They are a critically endangered species, with only 300 left on Sumatra and another 200 in zoos around the world.