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Meet San Francisco Zoo's new tiger cub, Jillian

May 27, 2013|By Terry Gardner
  • Newly named tiger cub Jillian.
Newly named tiger cub Jillian. (Marianne V. Hale / San Francisco…)

The San Francisco Zoo’s 3-month-old Sumatran tiger cub finally has a name: Jillian.  Born Feb. 10, the cub now eats solid food and weighs almost 30 pounds.

On May 11, at Zoofest, the nonprofit zoo’s annual fundraiser, comedian Robin Williams assisted in auctioning off naming rights to the cub. Literary agent Jillian Manus won the naming rights to the cub with a $47,000 donation to the zoo. 

“I was going to donate a certain amount of money anyway and my kids started texting me: ‘Get the baby tiger,’” says Jillian Manus. She had wanted to celebrate her four children, Blake, Amanda, Nick and Brock, by naming the tiger Bicka, but her kids thought a mash-up of their names wasn’t a good tiger name. They convinced their Mom to name the cub Jillian.   

“I wish there would be less emphasis on the money, and more on how spectacular this zoo is,” says Manus.

Corinne MacDonald, the zoo’s curator of carnivores and primates, says, “Generous donors like Jillian Manus allow the zoo to help protect Sumatran tigers in the wild through the Tiger Conservation Campaign.”

This week Jillian, the tiger cub, devoured ground-up pieces of rabbit, her mother, Leanne’s, favorite food.

 “She’s definitely inherited her mom’s intelligence, and she’s big enough now to participate in her own training,” MacDonald says.

 “She’s a bit of a diva the way she pounces on her mother, but very smart. When she couldn’t get up an incline, she figured out how to take the stairs,” says Manus, after observing her namesake cub this week.

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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