Tiger Cub Updates

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The first Sumatran tiger cubs born at Zoo Atlanta in more than a decade are on now on the prowl, Sohni and Sanjiv are exploring their exhibit with their mother Chelsea read more>

Tuesday, November 29
The tiger cubs have gotten a real taste of crazy Atlanta weather over the last few weeks. Just like us, they’ve gone from enjoying balmy temperatures in the 60’s to chilly temperatures, rain and wind. But as Adam Stone told me today, he doesn’t think anyone has told them that they’re Sumatran tigers, not Amur tigers! This morning they were given access to their holding building due to the temperature, but it didn’t take long for them to decide to come outside. The cold weather didn’t seem to bother them at all, and they went about their normal business exploring the exhibit and wrestling with each other. They put on quite a show for a photographer that we had on grounds and likely provided him with some great shots.  Once they had tired of playing, they decided to take a mid-morning nap. Despite the fact that they had access to their heated building, they chose to nap in one of their favorite spots in the bushes on exhibit.  This is a good example of why we try to give our animals choices. In theory, the cubs shouldn’t really enjoy the cool weather as much as they do, but they proved us wrong this morning. 

The cubs were weighed recently, and Sanjiv weighed in at 24 kg and Sohni weighed in at 19 kg. The cubs were weighed previously, on November 9, and were up from 19 kg and 14 kg, respectively.
Megan Wilson, PhD
Assistant Curator of Mammals

Tuesday, November 8
Since my last update, the tiger cubs sure have changed. Not only are they larger, but they're much more coordinated. Because they've become so agile, we've been able to make some changes to their indoor dens. Just as we did with the exhibit, we baby-proofed the indoor space for the tiger cubs. One thing that we did is place a large amount of hay and straw below the den boxes. The tigers have den boxes in each of their dens that serve as places to sleep in, but also to sleep on. For an adult tiger, it's an easy jump on and off of a den box, but that's not the case for a young cub. Just like with domestic cats, sometimes they get on top of things, but have a bit of trouble getting down. They also may get on the den box and start to play, but accidentally fall of the edge. And when they're very small, their mom might decide to take them up on the den box with her, which may not be where the cubs want to be. The hay and straw served as a nice cushion for the cubs if any of these things happened. But now the cubs are better jumpers and also a bit tougher. A jump, or fall, from the den box isn't a danger for them anymore. In fact, I'm not sure they'd even notice that much if they fell off of a den box during a play bout.
Megan Wilson, PhD
Assistant Curator of Mammals

Tuesday, October 18
Sohni and Sanjiv have recently started showing quite a bit of interest in the meat and bones that Chelsea receives for her diet, so they’re now getting their own portions of these items. It’s great to see the cubs develop this interest, because it means that soon we’ll be able to start them on training. You’ve probably read in previous updates that we were able to perform ultrasounds on Chelsea, which enabled us to monitor the cubs throughout her pregnancy. This was accomplished through training, which has proven to be an extremely valuable tool that enables us to closely monitor the health of the animals. When we renovated the tiger habitat, we included a training panel, with the hopes of providing tiger training demonstrations for our visitors. Sohni and Sanjiv have approached the training panel and are now readily taking meat at this location. The photo above show the cubs in a very early phase of their training, when we provide them with meat at the training panel. During training, there’s always a mesh barrier between us and tiger. This keeps us safe, while still allowing us the ability to get a close look at the tiger. In addition, we never feed our tigers by hand, but instead provide the meat to them on a stick, which can be inserted into one of the squares of mesh. Again, this allows us to easily feed the tiger, but not place ourselves in any danger. You can see that Sohni and Sanjiv already looks like pros at this, and are readily taking meat from the stick at the training panel. Given their motivation, I suspect it will only be a matter of time before we’re able to take the next step with them and in no time, you’ll see them participating in training demonstrations.
Megan Wilson, PhD
Assistant Curator of Mammals

Thursday, September 29
Last week Sohni and Sanjiv discovered their pool! Tigers tend to be fond of water, and this is certainly the case for our adult Sumatran tigers, Kavi and Chelsea. And it appears that the cubs are following in their parents’ pawsteps. Although we’re still keeping the water level in the pool quite low, the cubs have figured out how to get in the pool and spent some time splashing around in the water. There’s been so much for them to explore, but it was only a matter of time before they realized how much fun wrestling in water can be. The cubs are doing so well on exhibit that we’ll now have them out regularly from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, weather permitting. There isn’t much that’s cuter than soggy tiger cubs.

Megan Wilson, PhD
Assistant Curator of Mammals

September 9
New Photos!



September 2
Watch footage of the cubs, Sohni and Sanjiv, explore their exhibit for the first time!

August 16
The tiger cubs continue to do really well. Their eyes are open and they’re very active. They can now navigate around the dens and it’s getting harder for Chelsea to keep them where she wants them.  Recently, she did something really interesting to corral the cubs. The keepers had provided her with half of a plastic barrel for enrichment. Basically, it looks like a large tub. She placed one of the cubs in the tub, seemingly to keep him/her in one place. It was like a tiger-proof Pack n’ Play®! Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well, because the cub wasn’t very happy about being there and did a lot of complaining. After he/she failed numerous times to get out, Chelsea helped the cub back onto solid ground.

Stay tuned for updates on when you’ll be able see the cubs on exhibit!
Megan Wilson, PhD
Assistant Curator of Mammals

August 8
Check out our new footage of the cubs-in COLOR!

August 4
First photos of the young cubs.

July 15
Chelsea takes the cubs on their first road trip to the adjacent den.