A 3-week-old endangered Sumatran tiger cub made her first public appearance at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this morning. She also got her name, Kali (pronounced KAH-lee).
“She’s spunky, robust and energetic,” zoo staff biologist Steven Ok said. “She has a lot of upper body strength. She’s still just a little cub, but she’s already moving around well.”
The tiger was born April 17 to mom Jaya. Malosi is her father.
Single-cub litters occur in about 22 percent of Sumatran tiger births, statistics show.
Kali weighed about 2.5 pounds at birth and now tips the scales at just over 8 pounds. She’s getting about 3 ounces of tiger-specific formula at each feeding, and is fed five times a day.
Two of those feedings, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., will be open for public viewing daily beginning Thursday. Zoo visitors also can watch the keepers interact with Kali during those times.
She’ll be living in the Cub Den, which has a glass window for viewing, but, like most newborns, she likely will sleep most of the day and the public may get only peek-a-boo views at other times of the day.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered.
Kali is only the third Sumatran tiger born in North America this year. There are 74 Sumatran tigers in North American zoos, and an estimated 300 left in their native habitat on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.
The Species Survival Plan® works to ensure genetic diversity in the zoo-based tiger population through careful breeding recommendations and management. The Tiger Conservation Campaign educates the public about the major threats to endangered Sumatran tigers in the wild and raises funds to support the work to reduce human-tiger conflict. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a major supporter of this conservation initiative. Habitat loss and poaching are the tigers’ greatest threats.
“Every tiger is precious,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, zoo general curator, who also chairs the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. “We are very pleased at the birth of this cub and with her progress to date. Female cubs are particularly needed in this population. She is a welcome addition.”