As the world prepares to celebrate Global Tiger Day this Saturday, July 29, Great Cats keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo have some big news to share about the 2-week-old Sumatran tiger cub in their care: it appears to be a boy! Over the past few days, keepers have been able to get a quick look at the cub and weigh him when mother, 8-year-old Damai, leaves the den to eat and defecate. The cub appears to be healthy and strong. Shortly after birth, he weighed about three-and-a-half pounds. Yesterday, he weighed six-and-a-half pounds.
“It can be difficult to determine the sex of a neonate cat because genitalia can look very similar for the first few weeks,” said Craig Saffoe, curator of Great Cats. “However, at a glance, it appears that Damai has a male cub! His first veterinary exam will take place in a couple of weeks, which includes a physical exam and vaccinations. We should be able to confirm the cub’s sex during that exam.”
The cub’s birth July 11 marked an important milestone for the Zoo: this is the second litter for mother Damai but the first for 13-year-old father, Sparky. Keepers are monitoring Damai and her offspring via a closed-circuit camera, allowing the family time to bond. Although the cub will not make his public debut until later this fall, Zoo visitors can see Sparky and the cub’s half-sibling, 3-year-old male Bandar, at the Great Cats habitat. The Zoo will provide updates on the cub on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.