Two Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born at U.S. National Zoo
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Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo is welcoming the arrival of its two newest members. A pair of playful Sumatran tiger cubs were born to 4-year-old mom Damai and 12-year-old dad Kavi. Zookeeper Leigh Pitsko is calling the birth a conservation success.

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STORY: Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo is welcoming the arrival of its two newest members. A pair of playful Sumatran tiger cubs were born to 4-year-old mom Damai and 12-year-old dad Kavi. Zookeeper Leigh Pitsko is calling the birth a conservation success. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ZOOKEEPER LEIGH PITSKO, SAYING: "This birth is significant because they're a critically endangered species. There's only about 400 of them left in the wild and about 65 in North American zoos, so any birth we have is a success." Visitors like Marc Smith agree. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARC SMITH, ZOO VISITOR, SAYING: "People kill them, and they shouldn't be killing them. They out there running around not hurting anybody, leave them alone. Now you have one in DC, in the nation's capitol. You can't beat that." Visitor Eric Normark: "I think it's really cool. I really like the programs, the breeding programs they have here, and I've been really excited about the new arrival." Zookeepers confirmed the pregnancy with a tiger sonogram on June 21. In recent days, Damai's restlessness and hissing showed signs she would soon give birth. The newborn cubs have spent their first days with their eyes shut, being groomed and nursed by their first-time mom. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ZOOKEEPER LEIGH PITSKO, SAYING: "We're going to leave them alone for a couple of weeks. We're going to let them bond with their mom and in a couple of weeks, we're going to start doing vaccinations. We're going to start getting weights on them to make sure they're growing properly." Zookeepers say visitors will be able to see them in the flesh in the fall... but can see them now online through a set of webcams in the tigers' den.