Milestone for Amur tiger cubs
Published: 12 May, 2010
VLADIMIR, Natalia and Dominika, the rare Amur tiger cubs born at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie, celebrated their first birthday yesterday (Tuesday) when staff have provided a special birthday enrichment cake which was placed in their enclosure.
Born to parents Yuri and Sasha, who arrived from the park's sister site at Edinburgh Zoo in September, 2008, the cubs have delighted visitors as they have grown over the last year.
After their birth, they quickly settled into their new Highland home and even enjoyed exploring their large enclosure during the severe snowy weather.
Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: "With less than 500 Amur tigers left in the wild, captive collections that are part of the formal European breeding programme represent an essential safety net against extinction and serve an ambassadorial role for their wild-living cousins.
"At the Highland Wildlife Park they have proved to be a firm favourite with our visitors. Charismatic creatures like the tigers can help us to share important conservation messages about the need for their protection and for other species, like the Highland tiger, the Scottish wildcat.
"We are proud that our cubs have reached this important milestone."
Still not fully grown, and weighing in at an estimated 70kg, the playful antics of the cubs have entertained and enthralled visitors.
Play fights frequently occur with the confident cubs taking full advantage of their large enclosure.
Previously known as Siberian tigers, the Amur tiger was renamed in the 1990s as the last tigers had long since disappeared from Siberia. They are now found only in isolated populations around the Amur River valley in the far east of Russia, hence their new name.
Keepers at the park have reported that Natalia and Dominika are quite curious, but Vladimir is definitely much more confident!