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EMBARGOED UNTIL 19:00 FRIDAY 2ND OCTOBER 2015

A pair of wonderful new arrivals has been welcomed at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire with the birth of two critically endangered Amur tiger cubs, born to four-year-old tigress, Minerva.

These tigers are amongst the largest and rarest cats in the world, and the new cubs signify an important achievement not just for the Park, but for the international breeding programme of this threatened species.

The as-yet unsexed cubs are the first to be born at Woburn Safari Park in 23 years; arriving overnight in the bespoke Tiger House and weighing in at a healthy 800-1200 grams. First time mother Minerva is understandably protective of her new babies and the Park is delighted that she has taken to motherhood brilliantly, remaining settled and calm.

The proud new mother and her two cubs are all together in a special private den, away from the public, with as little disturbance and noise as possible. The cubs will start to explore the 9 acre tiger reserve in early 2016, until then they will continue to be under the constant watchful eye of their mother.

Genetically, Minerva is ranked as the 7th most important female in the captive tiger population across Europe and together with the cubs’ father Elton, they are a very important genetic match, coordinated by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

There are 326 Amur tigers (also referred to as the Siberian tiger) in captivity across Europe and Russia, and only approximately 520 in the wild – a slight increase in wild numbers in the last 10 years.

Jo Cook, Co-ordinator at Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance and also species co-ordinator for the European breeding programme (Europe & Russia) commented:

“This is the first litter for Minerva and Elton and so far she’s doing a great job as a new mother, although there is still a lot for her to learn. These cubs will make an important contribution to the European breeding programme for Amur tigers, as Minerva in particular is genetically very important and doesn't have many relatives in the population.

“Maintaining a healthy captive population of Amur tigers in zoos and parks is important because they act as an insurance population and can be used for reintroductions should that become a necessary conservation action to support wild Amur tigers. The tigers in captivity also help raise awareness and inspire visitors to do what they can to support these projects that are protecting these amazing animals in the Russian Far East and northeast China. Not only is Woburn Safari Park playing a role in the Amur tiger breeding programme, but it is also raising funds for the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance which supports conservation activities such as anti-poaching and population monitoring in Russia and China.”

Woburn Safari Park is home to five Amur tigers; two females – Minerva and Neurka, one male - Elton, and the two new cubs. Their home in ‘Kingdom of the Carnivores’ is a specially designed nine acre enclosure complete with sleeping platforms and bathing pools as they are the only big cats that like water.

For more information on other new arrivals at Woburn Safari Park in 2015, visit Woburn Safari Park

High res images and videos are available at request. All rights Woburn Safari Park.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

Woburn Safari Park

1. Opened in 1970 by the 13th Duke of Bedford, Woburn Safari Park is one of the UK’s oldest wild animal parks and has over 1,000 wild animals roaming in more than 300 acres of beautiful parkland.
2. The Park has a history of species conservation, dating back more than 100 years and is a member of and contributor to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
3. Park attractions include Desert Springs, a walk-through enclosure with meerkats, mongoose and porcupines; Sea Lion Cove, the UK’s only indoor sea lion pool with a high-tech 3D cinema screen. Plus the wonderful Elephant Meadow, where you’ll get close enough to touch and Kingdom of the Carnivores.
4. For discounted tickets and simple directions visit Woburn Safari Park

About the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme)

The EEP is the most intensive type of population management for a species. Each EEP has a coordinator and they will make recommendations each year on the movement of individuals within the captive population and decide which of these individuals should or should not breed. All this work allows Woburn to be able to maximize the genetic strength and diversity of the captive population and protect and sustain it for the future.

About ALTA (Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance)

ALTA is a coalition of 15 international and Russian NGOs who are all working to conserve the Amur leopard and tiger. Conservation activity support includes population monitoring; education and outreach; anti-poaching and compensation of livestock, fire-fighting, ecological and biomedical research.

Media Contact:
Aneela Rose, Aneela Rose PR
Tel: 01444 241341 / Mob: 07960 190158 / aneela@aneelarosepr.co.uk

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