Three Amur tiger cubs (also known as Siberian tigers) made their public debut at the Bronx Zoo this week. The species is found in the Russian Far East and northeastern China; male Amur tigers are the world’s largest cat and can grow to weigh 650 pounds. These cubs were bred as part of the Species Survival Plan, "a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic and demographic stability of the tiger population in zoos... to insure its long-term viability of the species." And to insure the long-term viability of cuuuuuuuute:

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the one male and two females in the litter each weighed an estimated two-and-a-half to three pounds at birth and now weigh approximately 45 pounds. Their parents are Katharina, a 13-year-old tiger whose last litter of cubs was born in May 2010, and Sasha, age 15. This is his first litter.

"The birth of a rare species like Amur tigers is always an exciting time at the Bronx Zoo," Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Bronx Zoo Director, said in a statement. "The cubs will play a vital role as representatives for their wild relatives—inspiring zoo visitors to learn more about the threats these majestic animals face in the wild and what we can do to protect them."

In the last 100 years, the global wild tiger population has plummeted 97 percent to just 3,200. 1,000 of those are breeding females. Once found in 30 countries across vast areas of Asia, tigers are now just found in scattered fragments across 10 countries. A WCS delegation is currently attending the World Conservation Congress in South Korea from Sept. 6-13 to fight for tigers and other species at risk from extinction, and we hope they make a difference, because the thought of a world without tigers is unbearable.

To celebrate the cubs' debut, the Bronx Zoo is offering $3 off the purchase of each Total Experience Ticket purchased online. Details here.