Facing Extinction, Birth of 3 Bengal Tiger Cubs Brings Joy

Three Bengal tigers, a hippopotamus and 15 Burmese pythons, all endangered species, were born in the past month at the Centenario Zoo in Merida, the capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatan, officials said.

The tiger triplets - two males and a female - were born on June 1 to a white Bengal tiger, age 7-8, and a 9-year-old orange tigress, the Merida city government said in a statement.

The two male cubs, Rajah and Sajid, are being fed a special formula by zookeepers due to the low weight of the tigress, while the female cub, Kali, remains with her mother.

"The reproduction in captivity of Bengal tigers, a species in danger of extinction, is a great achievement," veterinarian Luis Solis, who is in charge of the Merida parks and recreation department, said.

Only 1,500 Bengal tigers remain and experts say the situation of the species is "alarming," Solis said.

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The baby hippo was born on June 29 after a 240-day gestation period to Pipa, a 10-year-old female that weighs 2.5 tons, and Gorgo, a 12-year-old male that tips the scales at 3.5 tons.

The 15 Burmese pythons, a mixture of albino and striped snakes, were born on July 13.

Eight white-tailed deer, including two sets of twins, were also born at the zoo and are under observation, but officials did not provide the date of the births.

The baby hippo and the deer are already on display after making it through the critical development period, Solis said.

"The felines and the pythons are different cases because they need a long observation period and special treatment.

In the case of the felines, they have to have more contact with people so they get used to it and that benefits them," veterinarian Javier Ortiz Palma said.

The Centenario Zoo's new residents were presented to the public on Monday at an event attended by children participating in the Verano Educazoo program, whose theme this year is the feline world.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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