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Last Updated: Friday July 07 2006 13:08 GMT

Tiger cubs get first big outing

Tiger cub  [Paignton Zoo]

Two rare baby tigers have had their first outing in public at Paignton Zoo.

The Sumatran cubs, which were born eight weeks ago, have taken their first steps in the sunshine in their viewing enclosure with mum Banda.

The infants are being kept separate from their father Tenang as adult males don't have anything to do with rearing.

There are only about 350 of the animals left living in the wild and the cubs are the first to be born at the Devon zoo for 20 years.

They are an endangered species and most of those in the wild now live in five national parks. There are also between 200 and 300 living in zoos around the world.

Name suggestions

Tiger cubs and their mother [Paignton Zoo]

Paignton Zoo's animal expert Neil Bemment said: "The eyes of tiger cubs open at around three weeks.

"They start social play at around five weeks and will be grooming each other at nine weeks and trying solid food by 13 weeks. They should be completely weaned by about week 17."

Despite this, the cubs will still be dependant on their mum until they are 18 months old.

The zoo is now looking for names for the cubs and is asking people to email in their suggestions via their website.