Here is some adorableness to start your day. In the last two months, the LA Zoo has celebrated the birth of three male Sumatran tiger cubs, two giant otter pups and 21 Komodo dragon hatchlings. Traditionally we think of Spring as the time for babies, but since all of the moms hail from the southern hemisphere, it’s their Spring now.
Giant otters, which are native to South America, are endangered mammals due to illegal poaching and chemical water pollution. Giant otters are on exhibit in only five US zoos. The babies can be viewed being cared for through nursery windows at the Winnick Family Animal Care Center.
The Komodo dragons were laid by a dragon named Lima. According to the zoo, “the young hatchlings will grow from 14 to 20 inches long and three to four ounces in weight, to a fully mature lizard about nine feet in length and weighing up to 200 or more pounds” which makes them the largest lizard in the world. Of course, at a teensy 14 inches long one of these little guys could barely chomp one of Phil Bronstein’s little toes.
Sumatran tigers are only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where “agricultural habitat destruction, poaching, and killing of tigers that come into contact with villagers” has landed them on the endangered species list. Lulu, “The Zoo’s female tiger…” (well I hope so) “raises the cubs solely and looks closely after them off-exhibit currently.” The cubs may be available for viewing in December. The cubs just started teething and are still only drinking the mother’s milk. You can watch their progress here.
So much for my feel-good story. This just in from the LA Zoo:
The Los Angeles Zoo is saddened to announce that one of the three tiger cubs born on August 6 has passed away. Zoo staff discovered the deceased cub on Monday, September 12, 2011. A necropsy indicated the cub sustained head trauma but veterinarians are unable to determine specifically how this occurred. The cub’s mother, Lulu, has previously raised a total of five cubs in two successful litters in 2005 and 2007. Zoo staff will let her raise the remaining two cubs.
Photo by Tad Motoyama, courtesy LA Zoo