A trio of rare tiger cubs have made their first appearance before the general public at the San Diego Zoo today.
Adult female Sumatran tiger Joanne and her three 3-month-old cubs, Nelson, Cathy and Debbie, walked, stalked, pounced and played throughout the habitat to the enjoyment of zoo visitors.
Zoo officials said this is the first litter of cubs that Joanne has raised.
"Joanne is a wonderful mum and has taken excellent care of this litter," says Lori Hieber, senior keeper at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
"She has been keeping a close eye on them as they explore all the little nooks and crannies of the exhibit, especially near the pool. She is keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don't get themselves into trouble."
The three cubs were born on January 28 and each is developing its own unique characteristics.
The cubs are still nursing from their mother and are expected to continue for several more months, but they have been introduced to solid food, including beef heart and beef shank.
The Safari Park is currently home to eight Sumatran tigers.
There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020, unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it.