A well-designed nesting box for the Sumatran tiger at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands appears to be a success: in early May, a pair of tiger twins was born there. In order to avoid stress for the mother, the young are being monitored only by camera.
For tigers and many other predator species, it is essential that the mother feel completely safe in the period around and after birthing; a mother experiencing stress might kill and eat her young. This information was taken into account in the design of the nesting box for the Sumatran tiger at Burgers’: installed in it was an observation camera to register images 24 hours a day. Among other moments, this camera allowed zoo personnel to monitor the birth itself. In the period following the birth, the zoo’s animal keepers and biologists ensured rest for the mother and her young by watching them only via the camera. Now, a few months later, there is a video on the Burgers’ Zoo site showing that the little tigers are beginning to move around more. The mother and her young are expected to leave the nesting box approximately four weeks after the birth.
The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered. The number of animals in the wild is estimated to be as low as several hundred. European zoos that are members of the EAZA have set up a joint breeding programme for this species. A number of years ago, this programme granted Burgers’ Zoo permission to breed Sumatran tigers.