Our three Amur tiger cubs have emerged from their den and are delighting guests with their playful antics!
NEWS UPDATE: The votes were counted and we can reveal that the winning name for our male tiger cub was 'Makari'!
Makari, which is a Russian name from Greek origin meaning ‘blessed’, was a clear favourite after receiving 52% of the public votes!
At just thirteen weeks old he is starting to explore his new home with sisters Bailla and Zima under the watchful eye of mum.
The stripey trio were born to mum, ‘Milla’ on 21 May in the privacy of a behind the scenes den. Now the youngsters are fully vaccinated it is safe for them to venture out into their paddock.
Marc Fox, team leader of carnivores said: “We are over the moon that Milla has successfully given birth to three cubs. As it’s 12 years since we had tiger cubs this is particularly great news for Marwell.
Dad, ‘Bagai’ currently lives next door to Milla and the cubs and once they have settled in to their new surroundings keepers will think about housing the family together.
This is Milla and Bagai’s first litter together. Both tigers are part of an important European Endangered species breeding Programme (EEP) which maintains a healthy captive population of tigers and preserves critical genetic diversity for the future.
In the 1940s, the Amur tiger was close to extinction with an estimated population of fewer than 30 individuals remaining in the wild. Decades of turmoil in Russia and formation of the former Soviet Union reportedly contributed to failures to stem uncontrolled persecution.
In 1947 the Soviet Union became the first country to introduce legislation that imposed protection, including banning hunting of tigers. Hunting of the tiger’s main prey species, boar and deer were also limited at this time.
Today, the Amur tiger has full priority species protection in both countries in which it occurs, Russia and China. The population is now estimated to be 360 individuals. However, poaching is still a threat to the species.