Keepers at London Zoo say they are distraught by the death of their first tiger cub born in 17 years. The Sumutran tiger was just three weeks old. Today it was announced the cub - who hadn't yet been named - drowned in a pool inside the tiger enclosure. Lucrezia Millarini reports.
- Melati's pregnancy lasted around 105 days
- Zookeepers kept a careful watch on the first-time mother through hidden cameras
- The cub was too young to be sexed or named
- It was born six months after the opening of the new "tiger territory" at London Zoo
London Zoo says it believes Melati carried the cub outside, but keepers are unclear as to how the cub got into the pool.
Keepers are now reviewing the situation because it was not forseen that the mother would take the cub outside so early.
We're heartbroken by what's happened. To go from the excitement of the birth to this in three weeks is just devastating.
Melati can be a very nervous animal and we didn't want to risk putting her on edge by changing her surroundings or routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub.
– Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Curator
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 first tiger cub to be born at London Zoo for 17 years has died. The cub was discovered on the edge of the pool inside the tigers' enclosure. Five-year-old Sumatran tiger Melati gave birth to the cub two weeks ago, with the event captured on hidden cameras in the den.
Keepers at London Zoo raised the alarm in the early hours of Saturday morning after they noticed that they could not see the cub on the den cameras. The zoo spokeswoman said a post-mortem examination carried out on Sunday confirmed the cub had drowned