Critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs have first health check at ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo/Cover Images

Veterinarians at ZSL London Zoo have finally been able to confirm the sexes of a trio of Sumatran tiger cubs – two males and a female.

Dr Ellie Milnes gave each cub a thorough nose-to-tail examination, checking their eyes, teeth, heart, and overall physical health as well as weighing each cub.

All three were given a clean bill of health, and their information was added to the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a database shared with zoos all over the world that helps zookeepers and conservationists to compare important information on thousands of endangered species.

The milestone appointment took place in the comfort of the cubs’ home, with mum Gaysha waiting outside in the paddock, while their vital statistics were recorded and important first vaccinations were administered.

Facing a scenario that many parents of youngsters are familiar with, zookeepers have a job and a half to do in keeping the wriggling and hissing cubs still for their first vaccinations.

Unlike human babies though, the cubs already have sharp claws and feisty personalities to contend with.

Zookeeper Lucy Reed said: “It’s not very often we are ‘hands-on’ with the animals we look after - in fact, most of the time we do the complete opposite – so I was very excited to get to help hold the cubs, it’s a huge privilege."

Now that their sexes are confirmed, the cubs will be named by supporters of ZSL’s global wildlife projects.