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No more need for that live webcam: Two Amur tiger cubs are now on exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo.

Viewers from around the world have been watching a pair of tiger cubs grow up on the zoo's live camera, but now viewing of the rare creatures will happen in living color. An exhibit for two female tiger cubs opened Tuesday, Oct. 9, according to a release from the Minnesota Zoo.

One cub was born at the Minnesota Zoo on June 17, the other at the St. Louis Zoo on July 1.

The two cubs were brought together on July 19 -- still in their infancy -- to ensure the best socialization. Hand-reared because their mothers did not successfully nurse them, the cubs are off bottle feeding and "growing strong," according to zoo officials.

"We're excited for the public to get to know these tiger cubs," said Minnesota Zoo Director of Conservation Tara Harris.

"We hope to inspire people to care and to help secure a future for this highly endangered species."

Poaching, habitat loss and disease are threatening the wild Amur tiger population, which reached a low of between 20 and 30 in Russia in the 1940s. It bounced back to nearly 500 by 2005, but is on the decline again, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance is a 14-member coalition that pools resources to help support conservation efforts. The Minnesota Zoo is part of the alliance and has helped raise nearly $100,000 for its efforts.

Want to name the tiger cubs? Go to www.facebook.com/mnzoo to enter the naming contest.

source: Pioneer Press