What do you give a tiger cub for her three month birthday? Well, for the one at the Minnesota Zoo there's an obvious choice: you can give her a name.
The Amur tiger cub was born at the zoo in Apple Valley on April 26 – the first tiger birth there since 2012 when her mother, Sundari, was born. The little one doesn't have a name yet, but the zoo plans to fix that over the next few weeks with help from the public.
You can make your name suggestions here through August 6. The zoo will sort through them and pick three finalists. Those names will be put to an online vote the week of August 10-17.
She's "very active and curious"
For now, Sundari is raising her cub privately, away from the view of visitors. But you can catch of glimpse of them on the zoo's tiger cub cam at this link, which also has photos and videos of the cub's first three months.
As for her personality, the zoo says the cub is "very active and curious and loves to play with mom at all hours of the day."
The curator of the zoo's Northern Trail, Diana Weinhardt, tells WCCO the cub is a handful:
“It’s been really fun for my team to watch her grow and bond with her mom these past few months. She definitely has a lot of energy and Sundari is a very patient mother,” she says.
There were once only 40 Amur tigers
The Amur, also known as the Siberian tiger, lives mainly in the forests of Russia, with smaller numbers in China and North Korea, National Geographic says.
The species is endangered. The World Wildlife Fund says in 1940 there were no more than 40 left in the wild.
The Minnesota Zoo, which coordinates a Tiger Species Survival Plan, says today the number of Amurs is around 500. They say poaching – of both the tigers and their prey – is the biggest threat to the species. The survival plan includes a Tiger Conservation Campaign that accepts donations.