Tiger Mom Welcomes Cubs in London

Tiger mom Melati cleans her newborns. (Image credit: ZSL London Zoo)

Three baby Sumatran tiger cubs were recently born at the London Zoo.

After a pregnancy that lasted 106 days, the 5-year-old Sumatran tigress Melati gave birth to three cubs in her den on Feb. 3. Since then, keepers say they've been watching the family by a remote camera.

"While we still don't know whether they're boys or girls, we're starting to see their personalities develop," zookeeper Teague Stubbington said in a statement. "We've nicknamed one Trouble, as it's much bolder than the others — it was the first to start exploring its den and we’ve spotted it waking up its siblings when they fall asleep!"

Three of the nine known subspecies of tigers have gone extinct in the past 70 years, and conservationists fear Sumatran tigers are headed in that direction. The animals, which are only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

There may be fewer than 500 individuals left in the wild. Another 200 live in zoos, according to the Sacramento Zoo, which welcomed a cub last year.

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Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.