Baby tiger has swim lessons

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sukacita, a female Sumatran tiger cub, is dunked into a water moat by biologist Leigh Pitsko on Nov. 6 to test her swimming abilities at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Born on Aug. 5, Sukacita and her brother, Bandar, must pass the swim test before they can join the rest of the tigers at the Great Cats exhibit. The cubs must be able to keep their heads above water, navigate the shallow end of the moat, and have the strength and agility to climb onto dry land on their own.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered big cats native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Due to deforestation and illegal wildlife trade, it is estimated that only 400-500 individuals exist in the wild. 

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Baby tiger swimming

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Baby tiger swimming

Photo: Connor Mallon/Smithsonian's National Zoo

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Baby tiger swimming

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Baby tiger swimming

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.