An endangered Sumatran tiger at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is expecting.
An ultrasound taken Monday showed Jaya, 11, is pregnant with at least two cubs and should give birth in early October, officials said Tuesday.
The father is Malosi, 5, who also sired other cubs.
This is the fourth pregnancy for Jaya, who has been in Tacoma since 2002. Malosi arrived at Point Defiance in 2012 from the Honolulu Zoo. Two of their offspring — Dumai, 2; and Kali, 16 months — live at Point Defiance.
“This news is exciting for Point Defiance Zoo visitors and welcomed by those who work every day for tiger conservation around the world,” zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.
There are fewer than 300 Sumatran tigers in the wild and 76 in accredited North American zoos, she said.
Verifying Jaya is pregnant was quite the task. Keepers trained the 215-pound tiger to stand inside an enclosure while staff members slid tools through a mesh separator to rub gel on her belly and probe over the area of her uterus.
In addition to Jaya, Malosi and their cubs, the zoo has Sumatran tiger Bima, 4, and Berani, an endangered Malayan tiger who soon will turn 2.