Prepare yourself to hear the collective “aww” in the coming weeks as kids and families flock to the San Francisco zoo to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to the Lion House–a baby Sumatran tiger cub. But don’t rush out the door quite yet; the cub and its mother aren’t going to be viewable for at least the next two weeks while they enjoy some important bonding time.

The tiger cub was born on Sunday, February 10th to parents Leanne and Larry. And while the cub’s gender remains unknown, zookeepers are very excited to welcome the little fur ball to the Lion House. According to Tanya Peterson, executive director and president of the San Francisco Zoo, “Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species and the population in the wild is estimated at less than 400 which makes every birth is so impactful for these beautiful animals.”

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Even more impressive was Leanne’s willingness to undergo ultrasound and other prenatal treatments without the use of anesthesia. While many animals have adverse reactions to the anesthesia, Leanne was able to enjoy food treats while the Zoo’s carnivore team administered the necessary medical exams.

The SF Zoo hasn’t had a tiger birth since 2008. Prior to that, the last litter of tigers born at the SF Zoo was in 1976.

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The tiger cub has yet to be named, what are your suggestions for the SF Zoo’s newest feline addition?

— Scott Wardell

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photos courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, photo credit: Marianne Hale