BY APRILL BRANDON – VICTORIA ADVOCATE
October 27, 2006 – Posted at 2:01 a.m.
Get ready to say hello to the Texas Zoo’s two newest residents. The 2-month-old tiger cubs of Saffron and Krystal, the zoo’s Bengal tiger couple, are ready for their public debut.
Born Aug. 3, the as-of-yet-unnamed male and female tiger cubs are healthy and doing great, said executive director Eddie Overbay. And, unlike the four cubs born in March that were hand-raised, the 10-pound cubs are staying with their mother in the recently built tiger exhibit.
“Krystal is doing a great job taking care of the cubs and they will remain with her as long as she continues to take care of them,” Overbay said. “We actually let them out in the tiger exhibit for the public to see last Friday, but we wanted to let them get used to people first before we let the word out that we had them and the crowds came.”
The young cubs already have distinct personalities, Overbay said, with the lighter colored one being the more outgoing, trustworthy one and the darker one being more on the shy side. And although they haven’t been named yet, the zoo is planning to remedy that soon by holding a naming contest for the cubs starting this weekend. Entries can be dropped off at the zoo gift shop.
As for Krystal and Saffron’s four cubs that were born in March, Overbay said Zoey and Koda, the two 7-month-old tigers that were sent to the Memphis Zoo in August, were doing well in their new home. Ginger and Tonka, their brother and sister who remain at the zoo, can still be viewed by the public in their new location, the former ocelot exhibit.
Overbay added that the zoo plans to keep the new cubs for about a year before finding them a new home and they hope to find a permanent zoo to take Ginger and Tonka in the next few months.
As for the future, although the tiger cubs will be the last for Krystal and Saffron, who together have produced six cubs in all at the Texas Zoo, Overbay said, the zoo is hoping to eventually start breeding other types of tigers.
“Yes, Saffron will be getting neutered and so there will be no more mating between him and Krystal, mainly because there are already so many Bengal tigers out there. However, we do have plans once we have the new zoo to begin breeding other types of tigers.”
Master plans for the new zoo, which currently is expected to start construction within three to five years, were revealed in October and have the new zoo about 76 acres in size.
Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact her at 580-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this story at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.