JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Zoo did some name-dropping Friday with the announcement of the names chosen for its new Sumatran tiger cubs.
Zoo supporters purchased the naming rights for the twin boys, who were born Nov. 20.
One of the donors gifted the rights to the Tiger Academy of Jacksonville for the students to pick. They selected “Rocky,” for the larger of the two cubs, who currently weighs close to 14 pounds.
The smaller cub was named “Jaggar” (pronounced Jag-grr) by a donor and the donor's family. Jaggar weighed a little over 12 pounds at the cubs' latest check-up.
Zookeepers said they distinguish Rocky from his twin brother by a noticeable light-orange stripe on Rocky's back.
Jaggar is apparently the feisty one. Zookeepers said he showed some fight when the veterinarian gave the cubs their first round of vaccinations Friday morning.
The boys, who were born to mother Dorcas and father Berani, each got a good report from the vet, who said they are growing well and appear to be in great health.
Zoo animal health staff weighed the cubs, checked their eyes and inspected their tiny canine teeth on Friday.
The cubs were given vaccines that will protect them from upper respiratory infections and feline distemper. The cubs were also microchipped with a transponder, just like the microchip used in pet dogs and cats.
Over the next two months, the cubs will receive two more rounds of vaccines, including boosters for the ones received Friday and an additional rabies vaccination.
The now 6-week-old cubs need to grow bigger before they are able to explore the outdoor habitat of the public viewing areas. Until then, a live-streaming video of the cubs is available on the Zoo’s YouTube channel.
Fans can watch as the cubs spend time in their behind-the-scenes nursery den with their mother. They spend much of that time nursing, sleeping, or being groomed by mom.
Zookeepers said the cubs are becoming more mobile and playful every day, much to the delight of the faithful “cub cam” viewers.
A sneak peek into the routines of zookeepers, the chance to connect with this critically endangered species daily, and an insight into the development of the cubs brings fans from across the globe to the Zoo’s YouTube channel.
With only 400 Sumatran tigers in the wild, the birth of the twin cubs was significant for the critically endangered species. Zoo staff will use the cubs to highlight work being done in Indonesia to protect Sumatran tigers and their prey.