National Zoo announces birth of rare tiger cub (Photos)

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is welcoming the birth of a rare Sumatran tiger cub and, so far, the little striped bundle of joy is doing OK, the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo’s 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. Keepers haven’t yet determined the cub’s sex, because they want to give the cub time to bond with its mother. The cub is nursing, moving and behaving normally, the zoo said.

If you want to catch a peek in person, you’ll have to wait a while. The zoo said the cub won’t be on public view until it has completed initial health exams, been vaccinated and successfully passed a swim test — and that is expected to take several months.

The zoo's 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo’s 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
(Courtesy National Zoo)
Keepers haven't yet determined the cub's sex, because they want to give the cub time to bond with its mother. The cub is nursing, moving and behaving normally, the zoo said. (Courtesy National Zoo)
Keepers haven’t yet determined the cub’s sex, because they want to give the cub time to bond with its mother. The cub is nursing, moving and behaving normally, the zoo said. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo's 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo’s 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo's 13-year-old tiger Sparky, who arrived at the zoo last July, is a first-time father. (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo’s 13-year-old tiger Sparky, who arrived at the zoo last July, is a first-time father. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
This is the second litter for 8-year-old Damai, who gave birth at the zoo in August 2013 to two male cubs. (Courtesy National Zoo)
This is the second litter for 8-year-old Damai, who gave birth at the zoo in August 2013 to a male cub. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
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The zoo's 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo)
Keepers haven't yet determined the cub's sex, because they want to give the cub time to bond with its mother. The cub is nursing, moving and behaving normally, the zoo said. (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo's 8-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cub Tuesday afternoon while zookeepers watched via a closed-circuit camera. (Courtesy National Zoo)
The zoo's 13-year-old tiger Sparky, who arrived at the zoo last July, is a first-time father. (Courtesy National Zoo)
This is the second litter for 8-year-old Damai, who gave birth at the zoo in August 2013 to two male cubs. (Courtesy National Zoo)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Sumatran tigers as critically endangered and estimates there are only 300-400 in the wild.

This is the second litter for Damai, who gave birth at the zoo in August 2013 to a male cub.

The zoo’s 13-year-old tiger Sparky, who arrived at the zoo last July, is a first-time father.

The zoo said Damai and Sparky first got to know each through a mesh door — known as a “howdy door” — beginning last September and, eventually, showed an interest in breeding, zoo staff said.

Zookeepers confirmed Damai was pregnant June 8.


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