Double the stripes, double the delight! OKC Zoo’s Sumatran tiger, Lola, gives birth to two healthy cubs, a momentous occasion for the conservation of this rare species.
Summer is off to an exciting start for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden with the recent birth of critically endangered Sumatran tiger twins. Lola, the OKC Zoo’s 11-year-old female Sumatran tiger, gave birth to two cubs on Saturday, July 2 at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat. The first cub was born at approximately 4:31 p.m. and the second soon after at 4:49 p.m.
According to the Zoo’s carnivore care team, Lola and her cubs are doing well and spending time together behind-the-scenes to bond. Caretakers will continue to monitor Lola and her offspring by video and conducting limited visual checks and observed the cubs nursing within hours of their birth. In a few weeks, the Zoo’s veterinary care team will conduct physical exams on each of the cubs to obtain their weights and measurements as well as determine their gender.
“Lola has proven to be an extremely attentive and nurturing mother to these new additions to our animal family,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “Throughout her pregnancy and birth of these cubs, she has participated in ultrasound monitoring and training sessions with her caretakers that allowed us to be as prepared as possible for their arrival. So far, Lola is doing an excellent job and the cubs are spending plenty of time nursing and bonding with mom.”
Lola and her cubs will remain off public view at Cat Forest until the cubs are old enough to receive their first round of vaccinations and safely navigate their outdoor habitat. The Zoo will share updates on Lola and her twins on its social channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
The successful birth of these twins makes this Lola’s second litter of cubs with mate Kami, 14. The breeding pair welcomed male triplets in July 2017. The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Sumatran tigers which made the recommendation for Lola and Kami to breed. The Zoo is committed to helping protect Sumatran tigers and sustain their population through its participation in the AZA’s SSP for this critically endangered species.
Lola and her three siblings who were born at the OKC Zoo on July 9, 2011, were the first litter of Sumatran tigers to be born at the Zoo. In 2017, on her birthdate, July 9, Lola gave birth to her first litter, male triplets – Eko, Gusti and Ramah. Days after giving birth to her cubs, Lola became a foster mother to a female Amur tiger cub, Zoya. Zoya, now 4, was born at the Philadelphia Zoo and her mother did not have the maternal instincts to care for her, so Zoya was cross-fostered with Lola’s triplets. This was the first documented case of cross-fostering tigers of a different subspecies among AZA zoos. Per a breeding recommendation from AZA’s SSP® for Amur tigers, Zoya relocated to the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, North Dakota, and gave birth to three cubs, her first litter, in March. Eko and Gusti relocated to other AZA zoos per recommendations from the SSP for Sumatran tigers and Ramah resides at OKC Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered with only an estimated 500 individuals living in the forests of Indonesia. Their survival is seriously threatened by habitat loss driven primarily by the cultivation of palm oil plantations and by illegal hunting. In addition to supporting the AZA’s SSP for Sumatran tigers, the OKC Zoo committed to protecting this species through a partnership with Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization whose mission is to work with local partners to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests. Using funds donated by OKC Zoo guests through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program, Rainforest Trust purchased 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra. This lowland forest is rich in biodiversity and is now designated as a protected area, safe from conversion to palm oil plantations and logging and patrolled to prevent illegal activities, such as poaching. Some of the Zoo’s most popular and endangered species, including Asian elephants, Sumatran orangutans and Sumatran tigers, are found here.
Follow the OKC Zoo on social for all things tiger cubs! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Connect to wildlife and tons of fun as you experience the all new BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise at the OKC Zoo. Sponsored by Devon, BRICKLIVE features 45+ life-sized animal statues made with almost two million toy bricks! BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. now through October 30, 2022. Purchase advance tickets for general Zoo admission and BRICKLIVE at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.