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Sumatran Tigers at London Zoo

Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS summer, London Zoo (ZSL) has an extra special attraction and it comes in the form of three beautiful Sumatran tiger cubs. The two males and one female, born to Melati on February 3 this year, are now seven months old and their names reflect their personalities.

The young males are Nakal, meaning Trouble or Naughty, and Budi, meaning Wise, while their playful sister is Cinta, meaning Love.

They live with their mother, a young female Sumatran tiger who moved to London from Australia, in Tiger Territory, a special area that has been designed with ZSL’s team of tiger keepers, conservationists and experts to ensure that it perfectly suits the big cats’ needs. That means it has tall trees for them to scale and high feeding poles to encourage their natural predatory behaviour.

It also has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that enable visitors to get really close to them without any of the obvious dangers. Tigers love climbing and the raised viewing platform brings you on a level with their treetop retreat – perfect for getting that special photo.

At the moment, Melati and the three cubs live apart from father Jae Jae, a handsome male Sumatran tiger with a unique, eye-catching ruff of fur. He was born in San Francisco Zoo and came to London from Akron Zoo in Ohio as part of the global breeding programme for this critically endangered species – there are only 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. Poaching and habitat loss are largely to blame.

Just by visiting the zoo, you are helping to fund the programme. Moreover, as I’ve already said, you get to see these beautiful creatures as never before. I know because I recently explored Tiger Territory with my two young grandsons who were as enthralled as I was.

But tigers apart, the zoo has much more to offer visitors – from lions to leafcutter ants, from gorillas to Komodo dragons. And each day there’s a programme of events to suit all tastes. For more information, visit

Tiger Territory Gallery

London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY