Ben Blomfield – Thursday, December 17, 2009
MEET a genuine miracle baby – North Queensland’s first locally-born tiger cub whose mother was thought to be barren and too old to produce offspring.
The baby Sumatran tiger was born at Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve at Koah on Sunday, becoming the first tiger to be delivered in North Queensland.
These exclusive photos show the cub, which is yet to be named, settling into her life at the zoo.
Do you have a great name for the tiger cub? Suggest a name.
The cub was a surprise as her mum, an 11-year-old rare Sumatran tiger named Louise, was considered infertile after failing in dozens of breeding programs.
But it wasn’t until Louise met the reserve’s Hari that she beat the odds and defied her age to have the first locally-born cub.
Pictures: Tiger cub at Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve
“She’s a miracle baby, her mum was an older tiger who had been trying to breed with three other males before she met Hari,” the reserve’s managing director Jenny Jattke said.
“She (the cub) is very cute and loud, I’m sure she will be a hit with visitors.”
The cub, which will be put on public display next month, will be hand-raised by staff because Sumatran tiger mums have a tendency to neglect their first baby.
Pictures: Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve
When the cub was born on Sunday afternoon, zoo staff initially let her settle with Louise but the old female had no maternal experience and neglected her baby.
Staff then had to remove the cub, which was dehydrated.
Being fed every two-and-a half hours with a domestic cat formula, the cub will move onto a meat diet in about six months.
The reserve’s vet Samantha Young has been caring for the cub every night at her home.
“She’s doing really well, she’s still got her eyes shut but she’s feeding a lot and is quite demanding,” Mrs Young said.
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