A pair of amur tiger cubs is beginning to delight visitors while making their first appearance at Blackpool Zoo.
After the pair was discovered by keepers on the morning of June 11th they decided to close the big cat house. This means that mum, Aloyna and the cubs have had ample to time to bond with each other. Now they are ready to meet the public.
Keepers were not surprised by the birth says Peter Dilllingham, Animal Manager at Blackpool, ‘We had suspected that Alyona was pregnant for a while after keepers had observed Zambar and Alyona mating earlier in the year.’
Keepers were excited to find them still he added, ‘We prepared a cubbing den in advance and keepers were over the moon to find two tiny tiger cubs feeding from mum when they arrived at work.’
The cubs father Zambar came to Blackpool in 2010 after being hand-reared at Marwell Wildlife Park due to his mother rejecting him. Mum, Alyona came from SafariParkBeeske Bergen in the Netherlands to join him in 2012. Their mating has provided the zoo with their first cubs in 18 years.
Their transfer to the zoo was part of a European Endangered Species Program which aims to breed this endangered species. It is hoped that one day they will be able to return to the wilds of Russia and China where only 300-400 Amur tigers are left in the Amur River Valley. Their future is threatened by poachers and habitat loss in their forest home.
“Both these cubs will play a vital part in the species’ breeding programme and we look forward to seeing them both having fun outside soon,’ said Dillingham.
They make look small now but these two will one day grow into the world’s largest big cat species.
Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo