Auckland Zoo is today coming to terms with the devastating loss of a 4-week-old Sumatran tiger cub who had to be euthanised this morning due to a head injury sustained after a tumble while exploring his habitat on Saturday afternoon.

As a first-time mother, female tiger Zayana (5) who gave birth to this male and his twin sister on 2 January, has been doing a fantastic job rearing both offspring whose healthy growth has seen them become increasingly active and mobile, and exploring their environment with Zayana close by.

“It’s hugely upsetting for everyone connected with the Zoo, but nobody is more devastated today than our team of carnivore keepers who have been doing an incredible job supporting Zayana throughout her entire breeding journey,” says Auckland Zoo director, Kevin Buley.

“Working with our keeping staff, our dedicated veterinary team have done absolutely everything that they could have done over the last 72 hours, to give the little cub the best possible chance of recovery after his accident, but it was not to be”.

Over this time this included a number of carefully planned veterinary interventions – moving the cub (temporarily from Zayana) to our vet hospital. At the hospital the vet team was able to more closely assess his condition and provide supportive care. A specialist veterinary neurologist was also consulted who assessed the cub late yesterday. Typically, with a mild concussion a marked improvement would be expected within a 72-hour period. However, with a noticeable deterioration in his condition, the team had to make the tough but correct call this morning, to euthanise him.

As she has done throughout the weekend, and continues to do today, female Zayana is doing a great job caring for the remaining female cub, and the team is hopeful that this will remain the case going forward.

For now, Auckland Zoo’s tiger habitat remains closed to visitors while we continue to closely monitor Zayana and her remaining cub.