OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Zoo staff are rejoicing the birth of critically endangered Sumatran tiger twins.
Lola, an 11-year-old Sumatran tiger who resides at the zoo, gave birth to the two cubs on Saturday, July 2 in the Cat Forest habitat, with the first born at 4:31 p.m. and the second at 4:49 p.m., according to an OKC Zoo and Botanical Garden news release.
Lola and her cubs are doing well and bonding, according to the zoo’s carnivore care team.
“Lola has proven to be an extremely attentive and nurturing mother to these new additions to our animal family,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “Throughout her pregnancy and birth of these cubs, she has participated in ultrasound monitoring and training sessions with her caretakers that allowed us to be as prepared as possible for their arrival. So far, Lola is doing an excellent job and the cubs are spending plenty of time nursing and bonding with mom.”
The care team will continue monitoring Lola and her cubs by video, and conduct limited visual checks.
The zoo’s veterinary care team will perform physical exams on each cub in a few weeks to obtain their weight and measurements, and determine their gender.
Lola and her cubs will be away from public view at Cat Forest until the cubs are old enough to receive their first round of vaccinations and safely navigate their outdoor habitat. The Zoo will provide updates on Lola and her twins on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, the news release states.
Fourteen-year-old Kami is the father of the cubs.
This is the second time Lola and Kami produced offspring. They welcomed male triplets in July 2017.
Lola was born on July 9, 2011. She and her three siblings were the first Sumatran tigers born at the OKC Zoo. She gave birth to three males – Eko, Gusti and Ramah – on July 9, 2017. Days later she became a foster mother to Zoya, a female Amur tiger cub who was born at the Philadelphia Zoo to a foster mother who didn’t have the maternal instinct to care for her.
“This was the first documented case of cross-fostering tigers of a different subspecies among AZA zoos,” OKC Zoo officials said.
Zoya has since relocated to Roosevelt Park Zoo, an AZA zoo in Minot, N.D. She gave birth to three cubs this past March.
Eko and Gusti have also been placed in other AZA zoos upon recommendations from the SSP for Sumatran tigers. Ramah resides at OKC Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat.
There are only an estimated 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild; they live in the forests of Indonesia. They are a critically endangered species threatened by habitat loss caused primarily by the cultivation of palm oil plantations and illegal hunting.
The OKC Zoo is also committed to protecting the species through a partnership with Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization dedicated to working with local partners to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests.
Rainforest Trust used funds donated by the OKC Zoo to purchase 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra.
“This lowland forest is rich in biodiversity and is now designated as a protected area, safe from conversion to palm oil plantations and logging and patrolled to prevent illegal activities, such as poaching,” zoo officials said. “Some of the Zoo’s most popular and endangered species, including Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and Sumatran tigers, are found here.”