Readers are being invited to name a beautiful rare tiger cub born recently at Woburn Safari Park.
The cub is one of two female Amur tigers which are critically endangered and you can suggest a name.
Running until Monday, February 1, the public can suggest a name by visiting www.woburnsafari.co.uk/cubnaming. Staff and keepers will chose the best six names and the public can vote online again, between February 5 to February 12 February, for their favourite name.
The chosen cub name will be announced on February 13 and the lucky winner will receive a VIP Up Close Encounter with the Amur tigers for four people. The prize includes the opportunity to take a guided tour to see the cubs up close from the safety of a VIP Land Rover, plus the chance to meet other animal residents and lunch in the Safari Restaurant.
The second female cub will also be given a special name by Heart FM listeners, in collaboration with the park, to be announced in the first week of February. Now 17 weeks old, both cubs are developing well under the watchful eye of the keepers and their mother Minerva.
Craig Lancaster, acting head of the carnivores section at the park, said: “We are delighted to report that the cubs are growing remarkably well, and they’ve been playing with each other and pouncing on mum, as well as sharpening their claws and generally causing lots of mischief.
“We can now tell them apart quite easily thanks to different variations in their stripes. Minerva has also taken to motherhood amazingly well, and has been making an extra special effort to keep their den clean.”
The first Amur tigers to be born at the park in 23 years, their birth is an important achievement for the park, as well as for the international breeding programme of this threatened species.
There are only approximately 520 Amur tigers (also referred to as Siberian tigers) in the wild – a slight increase in wild numbers in the last 10 years. Genetically, Minerva is ranked as the 7th most important female in the captive tiger population across Europe and together with the cubs’ father Elton, they are a very important genetic match, which was co-ordinated in collaboration with the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
Jo Cook, co-ordinator at Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance and species co-ordinator for the European breeding programme (Europe & Russia) said: “The fact that the two cubs are doing so well is great news for the international breeding programme. Maintaining a healthy captive population of Amur tigers in zoos and parks is important because they act as an insurance population and can be used for reintroductions should that become a necessary conservation action to support wild Amur tigers.
“The tigers in captivity also help raise awareness and inspire visitors to do what they can to support projects that are protecting animals in the Russian Far East and northeast China. Not only is Woburn Safari Park playing a role in the Amur tiger breeding programme, but it is also raising funds for the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance which supports conservation activities such as anti-poaching and population monitoring in Russia and China.”
For more information about the new Amur tiger cubs and Woburn Safari Park, visit www.woburnsafari.co.uk/news