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Tigers cubs, otter pups, Komodo dragon born at L.A. Zoo

September 12, 2011 |  5:04 pm

And now for a few new faces at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Three male Sumatran tiger cubs were born Aug. 6 to the zoo’s female tiger, Melukakan (a.k.a. Lulu), according to a statement released by zoo officials Monday.

Sumatran tigers are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The carnivores are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and require dense vegetation to hide and hunt their prey. They have been threatened by the destruction of their natural habitat and poaching.

Lulu will be a single mom, raising her three cubs by herself in seclusion during the next few months, according to the statement. Once the cubs have matured, they will be allowed to enter the public viewing area, probably in December, the statement said.

As the cubs mature, their vision will improve, their strength will increase and their personalities will emerge. Video and photos of the cubs will be posted online week by week.

Other new arrivals at the zoo include two giant otter pups born July 10, on display at the Winnick Family Animal Care Center. Giant otters are exhibited in only five U.S. zoos and are considered and endangered species because of poaching and water pollution.

In addition, the zoo's female Komodo dragon, Lima, saw 21 eggs hatch between Aug. 3 and 12.

As the hatchlings mature, they will grow from a 1 foot to about 9 feet long, weighing in at more than 200 pounds. They were not on display this week, according to the zoo's statement.

Fewer than a dozen North American zoos have successfully bred Komodo dragons. The latest hatchlings mark the L.A. Zoo’s second successful Komodo brood.



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--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Video: Newly born at L.A. Zoo. Credit: L.A. Zoo