At last, the Siberian tiger cubs born on June 27 at Everland’s zoo have been officially named and introduced to an adoring public. After a sheltered period of early growth, the tigers have come out to explore their home Tiger Valley, and now that the naming contest has found a winner their fans will be able to see each of their individual personalities.
The first 100 days
Tiger mom Geon-gon gave birth just over 100 days ago to a litter of five: two males and three females. Tigers usually only have litter sizes of two or three, so it is a rare feat for this many cubs to be born at once, and all of them healthy. Because Siberian tigers are an endangered species, it was a cause for extra celebration.
When the five were born, they were little furballs that barely tipped the scales at one kilogram each. But in their first 70 days, they grew to 5-6 kilos, and now at around 100 days old they have each topped 10kg. That is 1,000% growth in just over 3 months.
Seeing their healthy development, the Everland zookeepers were confident to let the five young cubs go into the wider world and greet it. First, they were given about half a month to explore Tiger Valley and adjust to their new home without any curious human onlookers nearby. Initially, they stuck close to mother Geon-gon and looked a little nervous, but they quickly found their tiger feet and were soon sniffing at and nibbling on the natural objects around them.
Now they seem fully settled in, lounging and enjoying a swim, playing with each other and asserting their territorial dominance by growling at any unfamiliar birds.
Then, on September 30, they were introduced to human visitors for the first time. They are sure to be a main attraction at the Everland Zoo for a long time to come.
What’s in a tiger’s name?
At first, the young cubs were temporarily named First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth, in accordance with their birth order. But a competition was held on the Everland homepage and through social media channels to allow the public to choose permanent names for the furry five.
Out of an initial list of 2,000 names suggested by the online Everland community, the best five were selected and put to a final vote. Out of 4,000 votes received, 1,500 chose the names Areum, Da-un, Uri, Nara and Gangsan. When read in order, these Korean words mean “Korea’s beautiful landscape.”
Everland zookeeper Kim Soo-won said, “We will do our best to help Areum, Da-un, Uri, Nara and Gangsan grow to be strong and healthy.”