WINSTON, Ore. (KPIC) — Wildlife Safari in Oregon "is once again making headlines in big cat conservation," the organization said as it welcomed two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs this past week.
“This past Sunday, July 11th, our 9-year-old female Sumatran tiger Riya became a first time mother to 2 healthy cubs," explained Sarah Huse, the park’s carnivore supervisor. “Mom cleaned the cubs off immediately and they have both been nursing away. This is not only a huge accomplishment for Wildlife Safari but also for the entire zoo community and the international tiger population. The Wildlife Safari has not had tiger cubs born here since the early 80's and never before as part of the Tiger Species Survival breeding program.”
The two represent only the second litter of cubs born into the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Program since 2018, the Safari said.
“The Tiger SSP breeding program is desperate to successfully breed new genetics and get cubs on the ground. There has been a severe lack of tiger cubs born the last couple years with shut downs and restrictions at other zoological facilities. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with an estimated less than 400 left in the wild,” said Huse.
The two cubs, one male and one female, were named by major park contributors.
“Toby and Christina Luther supported our Lion Lookout project last year. For their sizable contribution, they received naming rights for two future carnivore cubs. When the two tigers were born the Luther’s decided to share this rare opportunity with their children, letting them name the cubs Phoebe and Luhahn,” said Tracy Moser, Wildlife Safari development coordinator.
"Well known for being America’s most successful cheetah breeding center, Wildlife Safari is excited to share the birth of these big cats with the public," the park's news release stated.
“We are always excited to be able to share with our supporting public when we have these major milestones,” says the park’s executive director Dan Van Slyke. “We’re all about sharing new animals and new experiences with the public.”
The tiger cubs will spend time with mom off-display for a period of time before being visible to the public, but the park welcomes all to share in the upcoming Facebook live events celebrating the birth of the litter.