Sumatra Tiger at San Francisco Zoo: "It's a Girl"

By Lisa Fernandez
|  Friday, Mar 22, 2013  |  Updated 2:34 PM PDT
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San Francisco Zoo

The female tiger cub at the San Francisco zoo sleeps

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After than more than a month of guessing the Sumatra tiger's gender, San Francisco Zoo officials announced on Friday: "It's a girl."

The five-week-old tiger - adorable and fuzzy - was born Feb. 10 to parents Leanne and Larry, and until now, hadn't been prodded by human hands.

But the veterinary staff felt she was old enough to be checked out. And on Friday,  zoo spokeswoman Abbie Tuller released pictures of her five-minute exam. Two vets are shown holding the cub to listen to her heart and get a sense of how heavy she is. She was eight pounds and in perfect health.

The rights to the cub's name are part of a fundraiser for the zoo, which will be held on May 11 at ZooFest.

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species and the population in the wild is estimated at less than 400.

The cub's mother, Leanne, who is 9 years old, came to the SF Zoo from the San Antonio Zoo in 2006.  This birth is her second litter; her first was in 2008 when she gave birth to three males, who were transferred to other zoos to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.  Leanne is named for the late Leanne Bovet Roberts, a former SF Zoo trustee and very generous donor and supporter of animal care organizations.

The cub's father, Larry, who is six, came to the SF Zoo in 2012 on breeding loan from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, with a stop at the Jackson [Mississippi] Zoo in between. This is the first litter he has sired.  He is named in honor of Lawrence Hauben, the late husband of SF Zoo donor Margaret Hauben, who always signed his correspondence, “Love, Larry the tiger.”

This birth represents the first tiger born at the SF Zoo since 2008.  Prior to that, the last litter of tigers born at the SF Zoo was in 1976.

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