White tiger born in Indian zoo

Express News Service

Chandigarh, April 8: It’s just a day old and is demanding everybody’s attention. But not without reasons.

Born to the Royal Bengal tigress Shanti at the Chhatbir Zoological Park, this female white cub is an endangered species. Moreover, it has been abandoned by its mother and faces very little chances of survival.

The worried zoo officials are not ready to leave any stone unturned in its fight. The zoo has abysmal record in its effort to save cubs rejected by their mother. In the last 10 years only one cub has survived in the zoo, the mother had adopted it, the rest four had died after they were rejected.

This latest addition in the zoo was abandoned by Shanti yesterday. She was then fed goat milk. “When the mother did not adopt the cub for seven hours we fed it with the goat’s milk,” said Dharminder Sharma, Field Director at Chhatbir Zoo. But today, officials felt lucky. They succeeded in finding a lactating bitch to feed the cub. “And the cub has started feeding on its own now,” says Sharma. However, the cub has been kept under observation at the Wild Life Hospital, away from the mother as ‘hand rearing’ is always a very risky alternative for ‘rejected’ cubs.

M P Singh, the veterinarian believes that the cub should be kept under observation for at least 21 days. “In cases such as these where the mother has rejected the cub, the critical period for the cub is 21 days. The cub is being medically examined every three hours and we are prepared for any kind of emergency,” said Dr Singh. The cub is being kept in a room temperature between 25 to 30 degrees C with blowers. Even generators have been kept handy in case of electricity failure.

Extra care is also being taken by even the attendants and the doctor before then enter area, for the cub. They have to go through four rounds of cleansing process including change of clothes, wash of hands and feet by antiseptic.

Similarly, the bitch brought for feeding the cub has undergone many tests before being considered fit to feed the cub. “We do not want to take any chance at all. The past record of the zoo is not very encouraging so we are on our toes. Besides the white race is genetically weaker than the yellow tigers and is another reason for us to be worried,” said Dr Singh. But as the cub adapted itself and did all the regular activities, zoo officials heaved a sigh of relief and is quite optimistic of its survival.

http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php? newsid=230770

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