A tiger mum and her four month-old cubs have emerged from their zoo den together for the first time since they were born.
The endangered Amur tigers – previously known as Siberian tigers – stepped out into their enclosure at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo with mum Naya just in time for World Tiger Day on July 29.
Only 500 remain in the wild making it the third most endangered tiger species on earth.
Excited onlookers captured the special moment as seven-year-old Naya and her little ones rolled about and played together in the baking sun.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo team leader Donovan Glyn said: “Seeing all four of these endangered tiger cubs out and about, playing in the grass together, is the perfect way for us to begin the summer here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
“They are just as energetic and playful as one-month-old kittens would be, and we can’t wait to watch them learn and grow under their mum and dad’s watchful eyes over the next few months.”
The playful four were born only 16-weeks after Naya arrived at the Bedordshire zoo to meet her male mate Botzman.
As they found their feet, Naya spent days carrying her cubs around one by one to help them get used to their surroundings.
Mr Glyn said Naya adapted to her new home at Whipsnade Zoo perfectly and her cubs seem happy and comfortable in their enclosure.
He said: “Naya has been such a patient, dedicated mum, picking up each cub in her mouth, and giving them little one-on-one tours of the enclosure, to help them get to know their surroundings and build their confidence.”
The cubs are the result of the European Endangered Species breeding Programme (EEP) which works to breed rare animals at zoos across the continent.
Amur tigers were on the brink of extinction on the 1940s when their total population slumped to less than 50 worldwide but conservation efforts have managed to bring their numbers back up to 10 times the population of 70 years ago.