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(Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)


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Bronx, NY – Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 – Two rare Malayan tiger cubs (Panthera tigris jacksoni) born at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo are making their public debut at the popular Tiger Mountain exhibit.

The cubs, Nadia and Azul, are both female and were born in January. In the days following the birth, their mother was not providing suitable maternal care so Bronx Zoo keepers intervened and hand-raised the cubs until they were fully weaned.

“The majority of animals born at the Bronx Zoo are raised by their parents,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Director of the Bronx Zoo. “But in certain cases, the mom’s need help raising offspring. Our keepers did a wonderful job raising the Malayan tiger cubs through the critical first few months of their lives. As the cubs mature, they are learning ‘how to be tigers’ and following their instincts and developing the skills and behavior of adult tigers. The transition process form cub to young adult is amazing to witness.”   

This is the third litter of Malayan tigers born at the Bronx Zoo. 

Initially, the cubs required 24-hour care and were bottle-fed a milk formula every three hours. Food intake was carefully recorded, and the cubs were weighed daily to ensure they gained an appropriate amount of weight. 

The cubs were fully weaned by 40 days of age, at which time they began to be slowly introduced to sights, sounds, and smells of adult tigers. 

After being allowed to properly acclimate to the off-exhibit holding areas at Tiger Mountain, the cubs began exploring the expansive outdoor exhibit space.

Initially, the cubs will be on exhibit at Tiger Mountain for a few hours each day. That time will gradually increase as they continue to become more comfortable in their habitat. Exhibit times may vary.  

Said Breheny: “These two cubs are ambassadors for their species. With an estimated 250 Malayan tigers remaining in the wild and fewer than 70 in accredited North American zoos, these cubs give us an excellent opportunity to introduce our visitors to the treats Malayan tigers face in the wild and what the Bronx Zoo and WCS is doing to help guarantee the survival of the species.” 

Like all tiger subspecies, Malayan tigers are solitary and only come together for breeding. Malayan tigers are smaller than their Bronx Zoo Tiger Mountain counterparts, the Amur tiger. Adult Malayan tigers weigh 250-300 lbs.

Tigers are classified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are fewer than 3,500 tigers left in the wild. With an estimated 250 Malayan tigers remaining, this subspecies is classified as Critically Endangered. Malayan tigers are native to the Malayan peninsula and are threatened by poaching, prey depletion, and habitat loss.

The Bronx Zoo is breeding Malayan tigers and Amur tigers as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

In the field, WCS has a long history working to save tigers. WCS conservationists have been conducting ecological studies on tigers since the 1960s and have worked with local peoples and governments to establish protected areas, increase enforcement against poaching, and develop public education programs.  Today, WCS researchers continue their work across Asia safeguarding tigers throughout their range.

For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Max Pulsinelli at or 718-220-5182; 571-218-7601.