LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Both of the National Zoo’s tiger cubs have passed their swim test.
The zoo’s adult female Sumatran tiger, Damai, gave birth to two cubs, Bandar and Sukacita, on Aug. 5.
Before being allowed out in the yard with their mother, both cubs had to prove that they could adequately swim the enclosure’s moat.
Now that they’ve proved they are good swimmers, the brother and sister pair can be seen in the tiger yard beginning Nov. 18, weather-permitting.
“Tigers are one of the few species of cats that enjoy taking a dip in water,” said Craig Saffoe, curator of Great Cats.
“The moat exists for the safety of our visitors, but it could present an obstacle for young cats. Our job is to make sure that if the cubs venture into the moat, they know how and where to get out. These cubs represent hope for their critically endangered species’ future, so we need to take every precaution to ensure their survival.”
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is estimated that between 400 and 500 exist in the wild.
The National Zoo’s tiger swim test comes just about a month after a newborn London Zoo tiger cub drowned in a pool in its enclosure.