Baby Tiger Cub being born

Courtesy of ZSL

Move over, Prince George. London has a new baby to celebrate.

The ZSL London Zoo welcomed its first tiger cub in 17 years last weekend. The newborn, whose sex is still unknown, was born to mom Melati and dad Jae Jae and is the grandchild of the zoo's last cub, Hari, who is Melati's father. 

"We are simply over the moon about the birth of the tiger cub; it's a momentous occasion for everyone at ZSL London Zoo and a real cause for celebration," zookeeper Paul Kybett said in a statement.

He continued, "We were nervous about the pregnancy, as it was Melati's first cub and we didn't know how she'd react...We were all watching our monitors with bated breath."

You can watch the birth too, albeit with less bated breath. It was caught on hidden camera.

The cub was born on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 9:22p.m. And the whole thing was kept under wraps. Melati was pregnant for 105 days, always under the watchful eye of the zookeepers and their hidden cameras. 

Melati's cub isn't just any only tiger though. It's a Sumatran tiger.

Sumatran tigers are indigenous to Indonesia, but are now classified as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. "In the 1970s, there were estimated to be 1,000 Sumatran tigers in the wild, today's figures say that there are just 300," ZSL explains in their announcement, noting that if the depletion continues they could face extinction within a decade.

So this little cub isn't just adorable. He or she is a superhero!

Baby Tiger Cub being born

Courtesy of ZSL

"The actual birth happened very quickly and Melati's maternal instincts kicked in immediately as she started licking the cub all over and it soon began wriggling around," Kybett reveals. "So far she's proving to be a doting mum."

The cub will remain away from the public for a few weeks before joining the rest of its family in the ZSL's Tiger Territory, an exhibit that was created to encourage endangered species breeding and was opened by Prince Philip in March. 

In the meantime, the cub will bond with its mother and grow into its looks a bit more. As we all know, newborn animals are super weird looking (case in point: pandas) but become cuter with a little extra cooking.

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