Woman cares for cubs of troubled tiger
Story updated at 10:58 AM on Saturday, Mar. 13, 2010
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Bindhi came from an abusive home in South Florida and wasn’t expected to become a mother. Despite being very thin, in poor health and with a bad pancreas, the 14-year-old gave birth to two healthy white tiger cubs a month ago.
But Bindhi wouldn’t have anything to do with them. So Deborah Warrick, founder of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve near World Golf Village, stepped in as a substitute mother and has been bottle-feeding them.
“They look very healthy, and hopefully, they will be OK as adults,” Warrick said of Eywa, a girl, and Toruk Makto, a boy. She named the blue-eyed cubs after characters from the movie “Avatar.”
Bindhi looks happier and is putting on more weight. Her cubs have gone from a half-ounce of milk every hour or so to 4 ounces every three to four hours, she said.
Bindhi’s former owner was shut down by the state a year ago, and she was brought to Warrick’s sanctuary along with the cubs’ 8-year-old father, Krishna.
“We do not breed animals here and prefer to perform rescue operations only,” Warrick said. “The last thing we thought was that she could get pregnant.”
When the orange tigress reproduced in the past, her cubs were stillborn. Not wanting to take a chance, another cage was built for the male to separate them. But it was too late.
“Miraculously, she was pregnant,” said Warrick.
Tours of the private facility are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays. To schedule, call (904) 940-0664.