Sumatran tiger cub born in Polish zoo

Warsaw (AFP) –


A Sumatran tiger -- a critically endangered species -- was born in a zoo in Poland, officials said on Friday.

The female cub was born during the coronavirus lockdown on May 20 at the Wroclaw Zoo in the southwestern city by the same name, but news of her arrival was only made public now.

Her seven-year-old mother Nuri and 11-year-old father Tengah are part of a global breeding programme aimed at saving the species from extinction.

"We were nervous as this is Nuri's first cub, but she's proving to be an expert mum," zoo director Radoslaw Ratajszczak told AFP.

The zoo is inviting internet users to its Facebook page to help find a name for the cub.

"We'd be pleased to find an Asian name reflecting the origin of the species," Ratajszczak said, adding that "zoo staff, especially the tiger-keepers, will make the final choice."

Sumatran tigers usually live around 30 years, with females giving birth to some 10 cubs over the course of their lives, according to Ratajszczak.

Native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild and under 300 in captivity.

Rampant poaching accounts for almost all Sumatran tiger deaths, according to TRAFFIC, a global wildlife trade monitoring network.

Tiger parts are widely used in traditional medicine -- particularly in China -- despite overwhelming scientific evidence they have no beneficial value.