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A Sumatran tiger cub born last month at the San Francisco Zoo has had its first medical exam and officials now know she is a girl, zoo officials announced Friday.
The cub, born Feb. 10, is in excellent health, according to zoo spokeswoman Abbie Tuller.
The exam, which included weighing and measurement, was conducted very quickly, in less than five minutes, to avoid interrupting the cub's bond with her mother, Leanne. "Since the exam, we've been able to conduct brief socialization sessions with the cub to get her used to her keepers," said Corinne MacDonald, curator of carnivores and primates.
"As we learned with Leanne's last litter, she is an extremely attentive mother and allows us in the same space with the cub as long as she is able to watch from an adjoining enclosure." Leanne has started bringing the cub out of the next box a few times a day while the keepers watch.
The lion house was closed after the cubs birth, but the zoo now plans to begin opening the Lion House for extremely limited viewing hours, on weekends from 1-3 p.m.
Visitors to the Lion House are asked to follow the instructions of zoo staff and security, remain behind barriers and avoid making noises to attempt to wake or disturb Leanne and the cub. The zoo does not guarantee Leanne and the cub will be on view during those hours, but will provide a video display if they are in the nest box.
The cub's naming rights will be part of the zoo's annual fundraiser, ZooFest, which takes place on May 11. An 8-week health exam will take place on or around April 10.
The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered, with a wild population estimated at less than 400. There are 74 Sumatran tigers in captivity in North America at accredited zoo and aquariums.