One of Auckland Zoo’s newly born Sumatran tiger cubs has had to be euthanised this morning following a head injury sustained after a fall on Saturday.

The 4-week-old male cub took a tumble while exploring his habitat on Saturday.

Several “carefully planned” veterinary interventions had been made over the past three days, including the temporary removal of the cub to Auckland Zoo’s vet hospital where the team was able to more closely assess his condition and provide supportive care.

A specialist veterinary neurologist was also consulted who assessed the cub late yesterday.

“Typically, with a mild concussion a marked improvement would be expected within a 72-hour period. However, with a noticeable deterioration in his condition, the team had to make the tough but correct call this morning, to euthanise him,” the zoo said in a statement posted to social media.

Auckland Zoo director Kevin Buley said that while the news is “hugely upsetting” for everyone connected with the zoo. He said “nobody is more devastated” than the team of carnivore keepers who had been caring for Zayana throughout her breeding journey.

“Working with our keeping staff, our dedicated veterinary team have done absolutely everything that they could have done over the last 72 hours, to give the little cub the best possible chance of recovery after his accident, but it was not to be.”

The tiger habitat remains closed to visitors while zoo staff continue to monitor Zayana and her remaining cub.

The cubs were born in the early hours of January 2 and were said to be receiving the “undivided attention” of five-year-old mum Zayana.

Zayana also gave birth to two cubs in September last year, however one died during birth and the other was killed by the mother shortly afterwards.

At the time, Auckland Zoo carnivore team leader Lauren Booth said although unfortunate, the incident was not uncommon in the wild.

“Their natural instincts will kick in, so having only one cub in the wild is not beneficial for the continuation of their genetics and their species, so sadly that cub didn’t survive,” she said.

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