Two rare Sumatran tiger cubs were born this week at the National Zoo in the US capital, in what zookeepers described Thursday as a conservation victory for the critically endangered cats.
The births late Monday were a first for the tiger mom, Damai, who mated with the zoo's 12-year-old male Kavi.
The babies' eyes are not yet open, but they are nursing and crawling all over their mother, "as if her body is a jungle gym," the zoo said in a statement.
A webcam on the National Zoo's site showed black and white images of the cubs lounging and rolling in a darkened den with their mom on Thursday morning.
A zoo spokeswoman told AFP that no humans have come near the cubs yet, and they have no plans to for a couple of weeks.
"Not only are our two new Sumatran tiger cubs the cutest cubs in town but they are also a huge conservation success," the zoo statment said.
"With fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild, the birth of these cubs makes a stride in the direction towards saving this critically endangered species."