Tragedy: First tiger cub to be born at London Zoo in 17 years drowns

First tiger cub to be born at London Zoo in 17 years drowns

A Sumatran tiger born in London Zoo for the first time in 17 years has drowned after falling into a pond.

London Zoo said the newborn died in the early hours of Saturday morning and keepers believe first-time mum, Melati, may have carried the three-week-old cub into the outdoor paddock, where it fell into the pond and drowned.

The zoo said it was "heartbroken" and "would do anything to turn back the clock".

Melati was said to be a very nervous tiger that responds best to routine and took time to settle into her new home. Zookeepers were worried that any changes to her environment could cause her to react badly and potentially injure or abandon the cub.

In a statement, London Zoo said: "The decision to allow her continued full access to the outdoor paddock and pond as normal was carefully considered and thought to be in the best interests of Melati and the cub."

Curator Malcolm Fitzpatrick, explained: "We're heartbroken by what's happened. We didn't want to put her on edge by changing her surroundings or routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub. At the time we thought it was in the best interests of Melati and her cub to allow her continued access to the full enclosure as normal.

"We would do anything to turn back the clock, and nobody could be more upset about what's happened than the keepers who work with the tigers every day. They are devoted to those tigers and are distraught."

The Zoo is carrying out a full review of the circumstances around the incident.

London Zoo celebrated the birth of the unnamed cub October after Sumatran tiger Melati 105-day pregnancy.

Melati gave birth in just six minutes and the sex of the cub was to be known in mid-November.

The newborn was the "grandchild" of the last tiger cub born at the zoo, Hari, who is Melati's father.

Baby zoo animals around the world
See Gallery
Tragedy: First tiger cub to be born at London Zoo in 17 years drowns

These babies, named Sri Kandi (left) and Arjuna (right) were born at Tierpark, Berlin, Germany. They made their debut on 5 March 2012.

Clinging to his mum, baby Changi meets his public  for the first time at Krefeld Zoo, Germany.

This little rhino, named Male, was born in January. He's pictured here with his mother, Mana, at Magdeburg Zoo, Germany.

The zoo at Tierpark in Berlin celebrated the birth of a litter of four dingo babies in January.

Only a few days old, this baby giraffe, named Kimarle, peaks out from her enclosure at the ZOOM Zoo in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany. The 170cm tall giraffe was born on March 9.

A one-month-old baby squirrel monkey clings to its mother's back at Qingdao Forest Wildlife Park, China.

A two-week old baby gorilla is cuddled by her mum, Mumba, a Western Lowland Gorilla, at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford, Kent.

Born at Cincinnati Zoo,  US, this one-month old hedgehog is being hand reared by keepers until it is old enough to be included in the zoo's outreach programme.

Ludwig the baby elephant is clearly happy to be out and about at the Tierpark Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich.

These cuties were born in February at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

This cub was born prematurely at Toronto Zoo. His mum rejected him soon after he was born, so he was cared for by staff at the zoo. Here he is making his debut in February.

This six-month old baby Western Lowland Gorilla is seen here enjoying the spring sunshine with her mother at Dublin Zoo.


Related articles

Tiger has HUGE hairball surgically removed from stomach

London Zoo's baby gorilla killed by jealous silverback

Read Full Story