ST. LOUIS –Three Amur tiger cubs were born at the Saint Louis Zoo on November 13, marking the first successful tiger births in over a decade. This event is a significant contribution to the population of Amur tigers in North American zoos. They are among the most endangered big cat species globally.
The cubs’ parents are Reka, a 5-year-old mother, and Maxim, an 11-year-old father. The mother and cubs are healthy and live in a private den within Big Cat Country.
The first months of a tiger’s life are crucial, and the Animal Care team is closely monitoring the family. Reka is attending to the cubs by cleaning, feeding, and keeping them warm. In the upcoming weeks, the cubs will undergo their first checkup with the Zoo’s Veterinary Care team. This examination will also determine the sex of each cub, with the naming process to follow.
Reka is originally from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. She arrived at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2021. Maxim, born at Peoria Zoo in Illinois, joined the Saint Louis Zoo from the Indianapolis Zoo in 2022. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan, which aims to maintain a healthy Amur tiger population in North American zoos, recommended pairing these two tigers.
With fewer than 500 Amur tigers remaining in the wild, primarily in the Russian Far East, the species faces a high risk of extinction. Threats include habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, along with poaching and human-wildlife conflict.
They were once known as Siberian tigers due to their widespread presence in Siberia. Their reduced range has led to the adoption of the name Amur tigers, derived from the Amur River running through their current, smaller range in Russia.