The Cincinnati Zoo has three new tiger cubs. The Malayan tiger cubs were born Feb. 3 and are being cared for by zoo staff.
In a statement the Zoo says the mother, Cinta, did not immediatly take care of the cubs so zookeepers stepped in.
"It's not uncommon for first-time tiger moms not to know what to do. They can be aggressive and even harm or kill the cubs," says Mike Dulaney, curator of mammals and vice coordinator of the Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan.
The cubs will be moved to the Cat Canyon exhibit when they're big enough and should be on display by spring.
"The three will grow up together. They will not be re-introduced to their mom as she would not recognize them as her own after a prolonged separation," Dulaney says.
There are less than 500 endangered Malayan tigers left in the world, according to the Zoo.
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Three-year-old Cinta is the 2nd most genetically-valuable female in the Zoo population, and dad, 15-year-old Jalil, is the 3rd most genetically-important male. This combination of lineage gives these cubs the opportunity to contribute much-needed genetic diversity when they eventually receive breeding recommendations from the Malayan tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), the group that manages the health of the population in the 28 accredited Zoos that care for this subspecies.
Jalil sired four male cubs at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2009. They were raised by their mother, Hutan, and are now living at other Zoos.