A trio of tiny Sumatran tiger cubs have made their first public appearance at Chester Zoo.
The cubs are the offspring of eight-year-old Sumatran tigress Kirana and seven-year-old dad Fabi.
There are believed to be between 300 to 400 of the species left in the wild as they are often targeted by poachers, who use their body parts as traditional medicine, and much of their jungle habitat has been destroyed.
Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said: “Sumatran tigers are one of the rarest big cat species in the world. That’s what makes our new tiger trio so incredibly special – they’re a rare boost to an animal that’s critically endangered.
“It’s still early days, but Kirana is an experienced mum and she’s keeping her cubs very well protected. She’s doing everything we would hope at this stage.”
Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They are the smallest of all tigers and also have the narrowest stripes.
Mr Rowlands added: “The arrival of this latest trio of cubs is vital to the ongoing survival of the species and the backup population found in zoos. They are now part of a safety net against the population in the wild becoming extinct, which, to me, is incredibly humbling.”
It will be several weeks until keepers can discover the sexes of the tiger triplets and a decision can be made on their names.