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  1. ITV Report

Hidden cameras film tiger cub birth at London Zoo

Mother of the cub, Melati, gave birth after a six minute labour. Photo: London Zoo

London Zoo has witnessed the first birth of a tiger cub in 17 years - and everything was captured on hidden cameras.

A five-year-old Sumatran tiger called Melati welcomed her baby after a six minute labour, said Zoological Society London (ZSL).

Melati gave birth in a special pen. Credit: London Zoo

The 105 day pregnancy was kept secret by zookeepers as they wanted to keep a careful watch on the mother, without disturbing her. The gender of the cub remains unknown.

The cub was born six months after the opening of the new "tiger territory" at London Zoo, designed to encourage breeding of the critically endangered sub-species of tiger.

Father Jae Jae is said to be uninvolved in the birth or immediate care of his cub. Credit: PA

Zookeeper Paul Kybett said everyone at the zoo was "over the moon" about the birth.

The actual birth happened very quickly and Melati's maternal instincts kicked in immediately as she started licking the cub all over and it soon began wriggling around - we couldn't have asked for a smoother birth.

It's still very early days, so we're leaving Melati to take care of her adorable baby, and our cameras allow us to watch them both from a distance. So far she's proving to be a doting mum.

– Zookeeper Paul Kybett

The cub is the grandchild of the zoo's last tiger cub, Hari, the father of Melati. The cub's father is five-year-old Jae Jae, who is playing no part in taking care of the new arrival.