National Zoo Tiger Cubs Pass Swim Test

Cubs will make public debut Nov. 18

The National Zoo's Sumatran tiger cubs have been cleared for their public debut.

Both cubs passed their swim reliability test at the Great Cats exhibit Wednesday. During the test, the 13-week-old brother and sister proved that they were able to swim and that they could climb onto dry land.

Staff members stood in the moat surrounding the habitat to place the cubs into the water and help direct them to shore.

The National Zoo says Wednesday's swim test helped them determine whether the duo were ready to explore their outdoor habitat.

Last month, the first Sumatran tiger cub born to the London Zoo in nearly 20 years died after drowning in a pool in its enclosure, CNN reported. Officials believe the cub's mother carried it into the padlocked portion of their habitat, where the 3-week-old cub fell into the pool.

The National Zoo's female tiger, Damai, gave birth to the cubs Aug. 5. Their father is the zoo's 12-year-old male tiger, Kavi.

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 cubs will make their public debut Nov. 18, weather permitting. Until then, here's an adorable video of the cubs to hold you over.

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