On Sunday March 22 our triplet tiger cubs celebrated their first birthday by receiving cardboard box presents and a cake!
At 1pm the cubs – Mentari, Bulan and Kuasa – and their mum, Surya, were released into their outdoor enclosure to discover and demolish their birthday treat. The cubs had never received cardboard boxes before so we weren’t sure how they were going to react to them.
Bulan was the most confident cub who was quick to rip into the boxes. Kuasa eventually joined his sister after a wary start and was very playful with the boxes too. Mentari, however, was very wary of the boxes but carefully watched her siblings. Their mum Surya had received cardboard boxes in the past and knew that there is usually meat hiding in them. She didn’t hold back at making sure she had a fair share of the meat that day!
Surprisingly, the cubs were more interested in playing with torn-up pieces of cardboard than eating their food. It provided much activity and interaction for them, and one present was still undiscovered even after an hour! A video of their activity can be found on Flamingo Land’s Facebook page.
Surya and Bawa (the cubs’ father) are currently kept in separate enclosures due to the solitary behaviour of tigers. Therefore Bawa didn’t participate in the exploration of the presents, but he did still receive his meat feed as normal! The breeding of these two tigers has contributed towards maintaining a captive population of Sumatran tigers, which are critically endangered in the wild. In the event of the Sumatran tigers becoming extinct in the future, it is important to have a genetic back-up in captivity which may need to be used to reintroduce tigers into the wild if required.
Sumatran tigers are native to Indonesia, but their numbers are decreasing due to habitat loss and poachers. The reduction in the size of their habitat means they may struggle to find food, mating partners and shelter. Poachers target the tigers for their fur and their body parts are used in traditional oriental medicines.
Until these threats are reduced or eradicated, there is no point trying to release tigers back into the wild as they have a slim chance of surviving.
The cubs at Flamingo Land will remain with us for a few more months and then they will move out.
Surya has done an excellent job at raising them, however she will soon be ready for them to move away. The cubs have provided much excitement and joys for both staff and visitors and we hope that they will continue to do so during the summer months!