Rare cubs are big achievers for zoo

TWO Siberian tiger cubs are the latest additions to Banham Zoo, near Diss – and the only ones to be born in captivity in Britain this year.As they play with their keeper Gary Batters, the young cubs are oblivious to the fact that they are one of the endangered species of the world.

TWO Siberian tiger cubs are the latest additions to Banham Zoo, near Diss – and the only ones to be born in captivity in Britain this year.

As they play with their keeper Gary Batters, the young cubs are oblivious to the fact that they are one of the endangered species of the world.

The cubs' birth is being seen as the biggest achievement in the zoo's 34-year history.

There are only about 400 of these beautiful animals left in the wild and it is breeding programmes like the one at Banham that are helping to ensure their future.


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The male cubs were born on September 25, one at 2pm and the other shortly after. Their parents are the zoo's resident adults Mischa, the father, and Zaliv, the mother.

Zaliv showed no maternal feeling for them, so after consulting the European breeding programme co-ordinator it was decided they should be hand-reared.

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It was felt they were genetically important to the future of the breeding programme.

Mr Batters, the zoo's animal manager, said: "The mother is still young and it sometimes takes a few pregnancies for their maternal instincts to come through, so we remain hopeful for the future."

The attention-seeking cubs, nicknamed Scruff and Stripe by their keepers, have gone from weighing a kilo at birth to eight kilos now – putting on 50 to 100g a day.

They are fed on milk and kitten food five times a day to help fuel their boisterous play.

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