WASHINGTON, May 20 (RIA Global) – A six-week-old Amur tiger cub, whose ancestors are from Siberia, has made its media debut at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The male cub, who was born on Easter Sunday, weighed in at 9 pounds (4 kilograms), had his eyes, ears and teeth checked and was given a series of vaccinations at his check-up, the zoo said in a statement.
As yet unnamed, the tiger cub was the fourth litter to 15-year-old Toma, who came to Pittsburgh from the St. Petersburg Zoo in Russia, Tracy Gray, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Zoo, told RIA Novosti.
“Since Toma’s parents were rescued from a reserve and brought to the zoo, they are considered wild-caught cats,” Gray said.
“Toma’s genetics had never been introduced into the North American population until she began having litters, so her cubs are very valuable.”
Amur tigers were once found throughout the Russian Far East, northern China and the Korean peninsula, but the felines were hunted to the brink of extinction, and by the 1940s, there were only 40 Amur tigers left in the wild.
Russia was the first country in the world to grant the tiger full protection, and by the 1980s, the population of the rare tiger had grown to around 500.
Today, there are believed to be around 450 Amur tigers in the wild – mainly in the Sikhote-Alin range in the Primorski and Khabarovski provinces of the Russian Far East, and in the border areas of China and possibly North Korea, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The felines are the largest member of the cat family, growing to nearly four feet (1.2 meters) tall and more than seven feet (2.1 meters) long and weighing up to 660 pounds (299 kilograms).
US zoos are home to some 200 Amur tigers, which, Gray said, “do very well in captivity.”