by Chris Galea, di-ve news (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GOZO, Malta (di-ve news) — January 31, 2007 — 1530CET — Gozo witnessed what was probably the first birth of tiger cubs within its shores, as a tiger delivered three healthy cubs — two females and one male — at the Circo Bellucci between Tuesday evening at around 1830CET and the early hours of Wednesday morning.
One of the cubs was named Victoria, after their natal city, while the other two were named Valletta and Malta.
The three cubs are the eleventh generation of tigers born in captivity at the Circo Bellucci, while their own mother had already given birth to two other cubs around a year and a half ago.
The light blue and pink ribbons at the Circus will soon be used again, as two Scottish bulls and two camels are also pregnant and are expected to give birth in the coming weeks.
Speaking to www.di-ve.com, one of the local representatives of the Circo Bellucci Silvio Zammit said that the three cubs and their mother were all in good health, although the latter was very tired after the delivery.
“The birth of three tiger cubs is an exceptional event which does not occur every day. It is also evidence that animals can live in a circus and that it is not true that they are being mistreated at the Circo Bellucci,” Mr.Zammit went on.
The arrival of the Circo Bellucci in Malta was shrouded in controversy, as animal rights activists claimed that holding the animals in captivity was cruel and that they were mistreated in order to perform.
However, Mr.Zammit rebutted the claims and said that there wouldn’t be all those pregnancies if the animals were unhappy at the circus.
He explained that the first few days are the most delicate, at least until the cubs could be breast-fed by their mother, adding that they would be treated like normal cubs after about a week.
The mother would be given a different diet, in particular with vitamin supplements, and she would be kept apart from her cubs during her feeding time so that they wouldn’t disturb her, Mr.Zammit further explained to www.di-ve.com.
He pointed out that one of the owners promised to send him a DVD on how the cubs were being bred and taught as an assurance they were not being mistreated.
The Circo Bellucci will remain in Gozo until Sunday, after which it might set up its tents in Santa Lucija and remain in Malta for a further week.