FRANKFURT — A Sumatran tiger thought to be infertile has given birth in Frankfurt Zoo, although only one of her two cubs survived, the zoo said on Wednesday.
"It looks like the last (fertility) treatment was a success," said Manfred Niekisch, director of the zoo in western Germany. "It is not that unusual that a pregnancy goes undetected in a big cat."
Mother Malea, nine years old, however rejected the cub, a female called Daseep.
The newborn was nonetheless doing well under human care, almost quadrupling in weight to four kilos (nine pounds), opening her eyes and becoming very playful, the zoo said.
Later this month Daseep will join Tschuna, a Siberian tiger cub born two and a half weeks earlier at another German zoo, in Wuppertal, who was also spurned by her mother. This would help both cubs to learn social skills.
"This is important so that both tigers can get on with others belonging to their own kind in the future and hopefully start a family of their own," Niekisch said.
Sumatran tigers are an endangered species, with their numbers in the wild in their native Indonesian island of the same name reduced to around 400 by deforestation and poaching, the zoo added.
In Europe there are 101 Sumatran tigers, the smallest subspecies of tiger, in captivity. The last Sumatran tiger birth in Frankfurt zoo dates back 26 years when Mali and Cha gave birth to two cubs, one of whom survived.
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