WATCH: National Zoo's Tiger Cubs Make Public Debut

Passed 'swim test' earlier this month, so are safe to roam tiger enclosure

After months of pictures and Tiger Cam video, the public got its first real peek at the National Zoo's Sumatran tiger cubs.

Bandar and his sister, Sukacita, playfully pounced on one another and their mom, Damai, during their first official outing Monday.

Earlier this month, the duo passed their swim reliability test, proving they were ready to take on the terrain of their outdoor habitat. During the test, the cubs, then 13 weeks old, were able to keep their heads above water and climb onto dry land.

Five-year-old Damai gave birth to the cubs Aug. 5; they are her first litter. Their father is the zoo's 12-year-old male tiger, Kavi.

"It's taken more than two years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment," said zoo biologist Craig Saffoe shortly after the cubs' birthday.

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species. It is estimated that between 400 and 500 exist in the wild. There are 65 Sumatran tigers living in accredited zoos in North America in addition to these cubs.

The zoo's tigers can be seen at the Great Cats exhibit from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., daily, but he zoo says the cubs will likely be out Monday for one or two hours.


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