Endangered Malay tiger cubs to meet public

There are fewer that 400 Malay tigers left in the wild

Two critically endangered Malayan tigers were born six weeks ago at the Prague Zoo, and visitors will see them Thursday, Nov. 16, for the first time.

The male and female cubs were born in Prague Zoo on Oct. 3, 2017. The female was smaller from the beginning and also had health problems. Fortunately, after antibiotic treatment, she has recovered. The zoo is monitoring the weight and health of the cubs very closely.

The mother is an 11-year-old named Banya, and she takes care of them and nurses them. Th father is named Johann. The cubs have not been named yet, but likely will get names in December.

“Banya, soon after birth, carried her pups from the birth box to the exposition areas and responded nervously to the presence of the people. That is why we have closed that part of the pavilion and visitors can see the tigers only now,” Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said in a press release.

“The fostering of this tiger subspecies is very complicated. Most recently in Europe is occurred four years ago in Halle [Germany]. Only the last 200 to 400 Malayan tigers survive in the wild,” he added.

The natural habitat is the Malay Peninsula, where there are two pockets of population in Malaysia and southern Thailand.

Both youngsters were weighed earlier this week. The larger male has a weight of 5.16 kg and the female 3.78 kg. “The slope of the growth curve for both offspring corresponds to foreign data. The male is following it almost accurately, and the female is still smaller, but she is not lost on catching up,” mammal curator Pavel Brandl said.

Both tigers already see and play cheerfully in the exposition area. The tiger cubs are already showing interest in meat. They do not have any teeth, but they are at least licking it.

Banya gave birth to cubs in the spring, but they were underweight and did not survive. Female Malayan tigers rarely give birth after age 15.

The zoo this year welcomed its 60 millionth visitor since it opened 86 years ago. Last year the zoo had 1,448,353 visitors in total.

Prague Zoo was ranked the fifth-best in the world by users of the travel site TripAdvisor this year.

In addition to the Malay tigers, this year the zoo has seen the births of a litter of cheetahs, a litter of wolves, a rare white-bearded tamarin and several Komodo dragons. Last year saw the birth of two baby elephants, who are still huge attractions. The zoo in 2016 saw a total of 1,191 juveniles in 223 species.

Prague Zoo currently covers 58 hectares with 50 hectares used for exhibits. It has over 4,700 animals from 681 species, including 144 species listed as threatened. The zoo has 12 pavilions and over 150 exhibits. It has been particularly active in the preservation of the Przewalski's horses, which are slowly being returned to the wild.

The zoo as of May 31 is entirely non-smoking and has several WiFi spots so people can upload photos to social media.

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