National Zoo shows off newborn tiger cubs
Kirinci plays with one of her three cubs
September 29, 1999
Web posted at: 2:26 p.m. EDT (1826 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three tiger cubs made their public debut at the National Zoo in Washington on Wednesday.
A Sumatran Tiger named Kerinci gave birth to the cubs on
National Zoo curator of mammals, John Seidensticker, called
the cubs ambassadors for wild tigers.
"Captive breeding or conservation breeding is about
maintaining our insurance policy, if you will, should they go
extinct in the wild," Seidensticker said.
The Sumatran tiger is highly endangered, with only about 500 left in the wild.
In about 18 months, the cubs -- named Mike, Eric and Chrissie -- will be moved to other zoos with breeding programs.
Chrissie and Eric are named after the two children who won the grand prizes in a Save the Tiger Fund art contest in 1996.
Mike is named after National Zoo Director Mike Robinson.
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