NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville Zoo celebrated a major milestone in its ongoing dedication to animal conservation with the birth of three Sumatran tiger cubs last week!

According to officials, 7-year-old Anne gave birth to three cubs on Friday, Oct. 20, marking the first time Sumatran tigers — which are critically endangered — have been born at the Nashville Zoo. Both the first-time mom and her cubs are reportedly doing fine as they bond in a private den away from the public’s view.

Cinnamon Williams, the zoo’s mammal curator, and other members of the veterinary and animal care teams have reportedly used a camera mounted in the tiger’s den to oversee Anne’s labor, delivery, and care.

“Anne is behaving perfectly,” said Williams. “She is being very attentive, and it appears all three cubs are nursing. Right now, we are staying away from that building as much as we can to give her some time to bond.”

For the next several days, the Nashville Zoo said its team will continue to monitor Anne’s maternal activities while slowly trying to reintroduce the keepers’ daily routines into the mother tiger’s life, hoping to eventually coax Anne away from her cubs for a short time so the veterinary team can perform a quick exam to determine the cubs’ weight, sex, and overall health.

“If everything goes well, Anne will raise the cubs for the next few months until she’s ready to bring them outside for everyone to see,” Williams added.

Sure enough, on Thursday, Oct. 26, the zoo announced the veterinary care team performed a routine check-up on the cubs — identified as two girls and a boy — while giving Anne a short break.

“All three cubs are doing great and are now reunited in their private den area continuing to bond with mom,” the Nashville Zoo said in its “exciting cubdate” post on Facebook, along with “the most paw-sitively adorable photos!”

While Anne and her cubs are not ready to make a public appearance, you can still see Sumatran tigers at the Nashville Zoo’s Tiger Crossroads exhibit, which opened in 2019 and received top honors in exhibit design from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2020, officials said.

Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica) are the only surviving tiger species native to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia. They are considered critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with only 400-600 left in the wild. The expansion of palm oil and acacia plantations have decimated the species’ native range, fragmenting the population into smaller, isolated areas. Human conflict and poaching also contributes to the decline as people kill tigers to protect livestock and use the animal’s skin, teeth, bones and whiskers for profit. Nashville Zoo financially supports the Tiger Conservation Campaign which fights to save habitats, curb poaching, eliminate the trade of tiger parts and reduce human/tiger conflicts.

There are around 235 Sumatran tigers under human care globally with just under 70 cared for in AZA-accredited zoos in North America. Nashville Zoo participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetically diverse populations for Sumatran tigers under human care.

Nashville Zoo

If you want to learn more about the zoo’s Sumatran tigers and its efforts to save these creatures from extinction, visit the Nashville Zoo’s website.