TWO Sumatran tigers from opposite sides of Australia have made a healthy contribution towards removing their species from the critically endangered list.
Roaring success ... three Sumatran tiger cubs have made their debut at Perth Zoo / AAP
Three cubs born to eight-year-old Sumatran tiger Setia made their first public appearance at the Perth Zoo today.
The trio - two males, Jaya and Satri, and a female, Melati - were born on August 20 from a union between Setia and 12-year-old Hari, who was transferred from the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve to breed with the Perth-born tiger.
After a two-week program to prepare them for public life, Perth zookeeper Emma Woodhouse said the siblings were still very shy.
"This is all very new for them, as you can imagine. They've been tucked away for three months under the care and watchful eye of mum in their den," Ms Woodhouse said.
Behind the scenes, the new siblings have already established strong personalities and their own pecking order.
"We've got two males and a female, so the stronger of the males, the bravest, he tends to run the show and the other two follow," Ms Woodhouse said.
"The little girl is quite shy, just like her mother, and will generally follow if her big brothers are around.
"(Otherwise), she tends to keep to herself, tucked away."
The three cubs will stay at Perth Zoo for at least 18 months before being transferred to new homes in Australia or overseas as part of an international effort to breed more of the species.
There are less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, and the worldwide captive population stands at 250.
The three cubs are particularly valuable for breeding purposes because neither Hari nor Setia have bred before, so they will be a welcome boost to the gene pool.
Perth Zoo senior vet Simone Vitali said the zoo had a successful Sumatran tiger breeding record.
"We've had some very enthusiastic mother and father tigers," Ms Vitali said.
The new cubs, which weighed 500g at birth, had flourished, she said.
After trebling their birth weight in their first 15 days, the boys now weighed in at 9kg while their little sister is now almost 8kg.
"They are still drinking mother's milk, and they've just started eating meat," Ms Woodhouse said.
Hari would return soon to his home in Cairns, as he had no role in raising the cubs.
Sumatran tiger cubs make debut at Perth Zoo | The Australian