Amur Tiger Cubs - Update!
Seventeen weeks on...
The two Amur tiger cubs are now seventeen weeks old and have received all of their inoculations and health checks from the vet. This also gave their keepers the opportunity to sex and microchip them, which confirmed the cubs are both FEMALES.
As their mother Minerva is the seventh most genetically important Amur tiger in Europe, this makes her offspring extremely valuable for the conservation of this beautiful species.
The cubs were born in the early hours of Thursday 17th of September. Keepers were aware that Minerva was expecting and her behaviour had changed throughout the course of the three month pregnancy. As soon as the cubs were born, Minerva took to motherhood wonderfully.
During the first few days since the cubs' birth, the keepers stayed away from the tiger house as much as possible to ensure Minerva bonded without any unneccessary stress. When the keepers did start having to venture into the house to muck out and feed Minerva, she was extremely calm and allowed keepers in without any problems.
Minerva also started helping the keepers out with their mucking out duties by only using one side of the enclosure as her toilet, before covering it all up with straw to ensure the cubs didn't go near it!
The female cubs were easily distinguishable from one another right from birth to their keepers, thanks to their very different stripe patterns. These differences will become more apparent the older they get and will hopefully mean that the public can spot who is who when they're allowed out into the main section.
Over the last few weeks, the youngsters have been getting much more playful with each other and much like domestic kittens, they love nothing more than chasing and pouncing on one another, as well as biting thier poor mother's tail!
The cubs' sharp teeth and claws appeared within the first few weeks of their lives and the cubs have taken to chewing on the wooden platform in their house as a way of easing some of the discomfort that comes with teething. This behaviour will continue throughout their lives as they use the same technique to sharpen their teeth and claws in adulthood.
It's been noticed that one cub seems to be bolder than the other. Keepers can't wait to see them exploring their home in the nine acre reserve and seeing how their individual characters develop.