Tiger cubs find it’s a tough old world with mum
Monday, June 29, 2009, 09:13
PAIGNTON Zoo’s new tiger cubs are learning the hard way that it’s a tough life.
The four rare Sumatran tiger cubs are starting to get to grips with meat, but not before their mum Banda has had her share.
The four, males Aryo and Bintang and females Kemala and Surya, were born in February.
They share the public enclosure with mother Banda while father Tenang remains off-show.
Male Sumatrans take no part in the rearing of their offspring.
Paignton Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said: “It is becoming easier for visitors to see the cubs as they get bigger and braver.
“They still sleep a lot during the day. We have put in cameras and a large video screen to help visitors.”
Five months on and keeping staff have got into a routine with their new charges.
Keeper Lee Haley said: “At this stage caring for six tigers is not very much more work than caring for two.
“There is more straw in the den than normal, and it can be a bit tricky to get them into the dens in the evenings.
“They are trying to eat meat and they may not suckle much longer.
“When they are all on meat we will have to make sure each cub gets its share.
“And the food bill will go up.”
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park director of operations and curator of mammals Neil Bemment said: “I think we can say the good weather and the cubs’ public debut combined to boost our visitor numbers at Easter, which is an important time of the year for us.”
Senior keeper Jason Knight said: “There is a lot of interest from visitors. The cubs have very similar markings, so it takes a keen eye to tell who is who.”
Paignton Zoo is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme for Sumatran tigers, which means it is part of the global effort to save this endangered species from extinction.
Captive and wild populations are protected and managed in an attempt to prevent Sumatran tigers following the Bali and Javan tigers into extinction.