Tiger cubs 2nd birthday

13 February 2012

Sumatran Tiger brothers Hutan and Aceh enjoyed special treats on their second birthday, featuring chicken drumsticks and extra lean mince. The brothers, who were born in the litter of four that included the two girls Indrah and Rani.

As they are approaching their maturity, the two males are separated from their sisters, Indrah and Rani.

This was the first time they have ever had mince, as normally they get chunky cuts of meat with bone—it's more natural and good for their teeth. 

Aceh now weighs 112kg and Hutan weighs in at 110kg —that makes them about 85% grown, as an adult male weighs about 130kg. 

The Zoo's Sumatran Tigers are all part of an international endangered species breeding program.

They are the most endangered of all the surviving tiger subspecies. Two others were found in Indonesia historically, but both the Javanese and Balinese Tigers are now extinct.  

The cubs' mother Binjai was imported from the Rotterdam Zoo in Holland, and their father Ramalon was born at Taronga Zoo from a mother who had been born here at Melbourne Zoo, giving this zoo a longstanding connection to this bloodline.  

Keeper Sheila Roe, who prepared their birthday treat, says that ‘The cubs are a pleasure to work with, and every day we are learning more about each cub's unique individuality. Hutan has a very placid nature, and Aceh is a little bit more domineering. The girls are a little more intense—they're not as relaxed as the boys.'

The tigers play a leading role in the Zoo's efforts in calling for a change to Australia's food labelling laws, to require manufacturers to list palm oil as an ingredient when it is used in manufactured food—about 50% of what's on our supermarket shelves. Find out more about Palm Oil

The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations is the single largest cause of rainforest destruction and habitat loss in South-east Asia, including this species' only home, the island of Sumatra.