Prepare for awww … A trio of adorable Amur tiger cubs were recently born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as part of an accredited Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) that aims to maintain a sustainable and genetically diverse population of tigers across the globe. The bundles of ‘squee’ arrived in the early hours of April 21st and were initially monitored remotely via a camera mounted in the cubs' den.

Zookeepers made the decision to hand-rear the cubs after their mother failed to nurse them and did not show any signs of maternal care. They are currently housed in an incubator and are not available for public viewing.

“We are always cautiously optimistic about the survival of fragile newborns,” said Columbus Zoo President/CEO Tom Stalf. “But the cubs seem to be thriving under the 24-hour care provided by our animal specialists and veterinarians.”

Although it has taken a couple of years, zoo staff and the SSP team are delighted that ten-year-old Irisa, the mother of the tiny cubs, has finally given birth and passed on her valuable genes. With the addition of the three new cubs there are currently 10 Amur tigers at the Columbus Zoo.

Also known as Siberian tigers, there are fewer than 400 of these critically endangered cats living in the wild, and the species is reliant on conservation and breeding programs for its future survival. Long-term supporter of the Siberian Tiger Project, the Columbus Zoo contributes funding to help reduce human-tiger conflict, to increase support for young scientists interested in researching tigers, and to aid in the biological monitoring of tigers using radio collaring, track surveys and camera traps.

Header image: Dan Coulter/Flickr