Valentine’s Day arrived early at the San Francisco Zoo. Leanne, a 9 1/2-year-old Sumatran tiger, gave birth to a cub Feb. 10.
“Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, so every birth is vitally important for the species," said Jill Lynch, vice president of marketing for the San Francisco Zoo.
Citing World Wildlife Fund statistics, Lynch noted that less than 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. "Habitat encroachment and poaching are the two biggest issues facing the species in Sumatra and Borneo,” she said.
The sex of the newborn won’t be known until its first wellness exam in the next few weeks.
This was Leanne’s second litter -- she had three male cubs in 2008 -- but this is the first cub that Larry, a 6-year old Sumatran tiger, has sired. Larry arrived at the zoo in May on a breeding loan from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.During this pregnancy, Leanne was a participant in awake wellness exams and ultrasounds (to reduce dangers from using anesthesia). The team of keepers, curators and veterinarians designed a special examination bench onto which Leanne could jump for tests. She was rewarded with treats, including bits of meat and goat milk from a squirt bottle.
Leanne and the cub are currently off display and will be for a couple of months, at least. Papa Larry is on display.Info: San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Boulevard and the Great Highway. Adult admission: $15. (Discounts are available for seniors, children and San Francisco residents.)