Good Samaritan becomes ‘grandpa’ to Chiko and Chiki
By MARTIN CARVALHO
MALACCA: Datuk Dr S.H. Foo who rescued tiger cub Nicky from the cooking pot three years ago is now a “double Datuk”.
But the second title, self-bestowed to the former Malaysian trade commissioner to Papua New Guinea, is that of a “grandfather” — to Nicky’s newborn cubs.
Foo, a businessman now, visited the Malacca Zoo with his family and several friends on Sunday to see Nicky and her two surviving cubs.
“I am very happy for Nicky. It was only three years ago that I helped rescue her from becoming somebody’s meal. Now, my friends tease me, saying that I am a datuk to the cubs,” he said at the zoo’s animal clinic and quarantine centre.
Moved at the sight of the cubs, Foo donated RM5,000 to buy goat’s milk for the male and female named Chiko and Chiki.
Nicky, who was paired with a five-year-old tiger named Dido under the zoo’s breeding programme in May 2006, delivered a litter of four cubs on Oct 15.
Two died shortly after birth as Nicky could not nurse them, forcing zookeepers to hand-raise the surviving cubs.
Three years ago, Nicky was saved by Foo, who had heard from friends that the then three-month-old cub was caught by villagers in Rompin, Pahang, and sold to a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
Foo, through a contact, bought the cub for RM10,000 from the restaurant and handed it over to the Wildlife Department.
Nicky joined the Malacca Zoo under its captive breeding programme and became an instant attraction. She was adopted by Star Publications (M) Bhd at a cost of RM15,000 for three years.
Zoo director Mohd Nawayai Yasak said the stress during delivery was among factors that could have caused Nicky not to care for them.
“We are hand-feeding the cubs. They will take milk for about four months before we put them on solid food,” he said.
Mohd Nawayai lamented that the cost of goat’s milk had gone up from RM6.50 to RM8.50 for a 230ml bottle, with the cubs requiring between two and three bottles each day.
Chiko and Chiki, he said, were healthy and stood a good chance of survival.
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