Pair of Rare Tiger Cubs Born at National Zoo

UPDATED 08/08/2013 at 02:15 PM EDT Originally published 08/08/2013 at 01:30 PM EDT

Tiger Cubs Born at National Zoo: Photo
The National Zoo's mother tiger, Damai, tends to her newborn cubs inside their enclosure
Smithsonian's National Zoo/Reuters/Landov
It's three's company for the Sumatran tigers at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo!

Two rare cubs were born to its resident female, Damai, on Monday, prompting delight from the zoo's keepers.

"All I can do is smile," said great cats curator Craig Saffoe on the zoo's website. "The team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs."

There are less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, and the birth of the pair, who were fathered by the zoo's male, Kavi, is an important milestone – for the species, and the zoo itself.

"Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it's really special to see her become a great mom," said Saffoe.

While the cubs won't be on exhibit until later this year, anxious animal watchers can check out the National Zoo's live feed of their enclosure for a glimpse of the adorable infants.

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