Three Amur tiger cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium late Wednesday night, according to zoo officials.
Based on observations from a remote camera, the newborn cubs appear to be healthy and are nursing in a behind-the-scenes denning area with their mother, they said.
This is the second litter of cubs for 11-year-old female, Irisa, who gave birth to a litter last year.
The father is 8-year-old Jupiter who arrived at the Columbus Zoo in March 2015 from the Czech Republic.
Jupiter’s move to the Columbus Zoo was through a partnership with the European Endangered Species Program and the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan in an effort to increase the genetic health and diversity of tigers in human care. This birth marks the second litter sired by Jupiter but his first in a North American zoo.
“Welcoming tiger cubs at the zoo is always exciting but it is also a time when we proceed with cautious optimism,” said president/CEO Tom Stalf. “Tiger cubs are very fragile at birth. However, they appear to be thriving and Irisa is being an attentive mother.”
With the addition of the three cubs, currently seven Amur tigers are at the Columbus Zoo.
Amur tigers, also referred to as Siberian tigers, are critically endangered, according to zoo officials.
The Powell-based Columbus Zoo is a long-term supporter of the Siberian Tiger Project which was established in 1992 by the Wildlife Conservation Society.