The Sumatran tiger cub who was the first born to the London Zoo in 17 years has tragically died just three weeks later.
A tiny tiger cub born at London Zoo last month has tragically died in an apparent drowning.
The 3-week-old — the first tiger born at the English tourist attraction in 17 years — was found lying on the edge of the enclosure’s pool on Saturday morning.
Keepers in the Tiger Territory rushed to his side when they couldn’t see it on den cameras. But it was too late, and it was declared dead.
A post-mortem on Sunday revealed the Sumatran cub, who was not old enough to be named or sexed, had drowned.
Zoo bosses have now launched an investigation. One initial theory is that the cub’s 5-year-old mom Melati carried it outside.
But with no cameras focused on the pool, it’s unclear how the cub ended up in the water.
Tiger mom Melati may have carried her cub out to the pool where it drowned, London Zoo officials said.
“We’re heartbroken by what’s happened. To go from the excitement of the birth to this in three weeks is just devastating,” curator Malcolm Fitzpatrick told the BBC.
With some critics questioning why the newborn was given access to the entire enclosure, including the pool, he said Melati could be “nervous.”
“We didn’t want to risk putting her on edge by changing her surroundings or routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub,” he revealed.
“At the time we thought it was in the best interests of Melati and her cub to allow her continued access to the full enclosure as normal,” he added.
Melati gave birth to her first cub on Sept. 22 after a 105-day pregnancy and a 6-minute birth.
The incredible moment was caught on hidden cameras, and footage of the momentous event went viral.