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San Francisco: Sumatran tiger cub to debut at zoo

April 12, 2013|By Terry Gardner

An 8-week-old female Sumatran tiger cub makes her debut Friday (today) at the San Francisco Zoo.  Visitors are encouraged to “walk softly” (without a big stick) because the cub might hide if she hears a loud noise. 

The cub, born Feb. 10, now weighs almost 14 pounds. Her birth and 9 1/2-year-old Leanne’s pregnancy was closely watched.

The cub's naming rights will be auctioned at a May 11 zoo fundraiser.

I asked Corinne MacDonald, the zoo’s curator of carnivores and primates, whether Leanne was different with her girl cub. Leanne had three male cubs in 2008.

“We have noticed some differences," MacDonald said. "With the boys, she was more inclined to separate from them more often.”

Although the cub is still nursing, she has begun eating ground meat. The cub is curious about her mom’s food. MacDonald said that when Leanne was eating rabbit (off the bone) this week, the cub began howling. Rabbit is Leanne’s favorite food, and it could be the cub’s, too.

Tiger etiquette includes speaking softly, walking or standing quietly, and not banging on the glass. Inside the Lion House, visitors are asked to be quiet when observing the live video feed of the tigers in the nest box. 

“We know that the building can be loud when it gets crowded, and each time the cub is exposed to something new, she gets shy,” MacDonald said. 

The Lion House will be open from 2-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thereafter, the zoo will continue to announce limited viewing in the Lion House based on the needs of Leanne and the cub.

Info: San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Boulevard and the Great Highway. Adult admission: $15. (Discounts are available for seniors, children and San Francisco residents.)

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