LONDON (AP) — The first footage of London Zoo's rare tiger triplets was released Thursday.
Born on June 27th, the arrival of the three critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs was filmed on the zoo's hidden 'cubcam,' as 10-year-old mom Gaysha gives birth, then tenderly cleans her newborns. Father Asim apporaches gently soon afterwards.
ZSL London Zoo tiger keeper Amy McKillop said they keepers had spotted signs that Gaysha was pregnant, and made preparations.
"We were hopeful. And the last few weeks we saw her belly start to increase in size. So we knew that she was coming close to her term. And so we set up a lovely little behind the scenes covering box for her, lots and lots of straw," McKillop explained. "And we set up a special cubcam so we could keep a close eye on what was going on. And we've been having nightly vigils."
McKillop adds that the triplets, now 10 days old, quickly reached some early key milestones.
"We've seen them feeding and taking a first few tentative steps. They're very big and very strong."
Mother Gaysha is likely to keep her litter inside their indoor den for now, until she brings them to explore the outdoor paddocks of their enclosure.
The cubs will be named once they have received their first vaccinations, at around three months old, when zookeepers will also be able to confirm the cubs' sexes.
Sumatran tigers are the rarest and smallest subspecies of tiger in the world, with the latest figures suggesting that only around 300 remain in the wild.