Thursday, 19 June 2008

Close Encounters of the Cub Kind

It won’t be long before the whole of Australia will be going ga-ga over Dreamworld’s tiger triplets when they leave the den and make their debut on June 26, 2008 at the purpose-built glass fronted Tiger Island nursery. Four weeks after that the trio are set to cause mischief as they come out from behind the glass to directly interact with the public.

From July 24, 20 guests will be able to experience a rare encounter with the Sumatran sisters at the limited Cub Experience sessions. Held in an exclusive area behind Tiger Island, guests of all ages will be able to pat and have their photo taken with the cubs.

Tiger Island Manager Patrick Martin-Vegue said, “During Cub Experience’s Dreamworld guests will have one-on-one time with the cubs and their handlers to ask questions and learn more about the tigers. They will be able to see them play and wrestle and start to develop their own personalities.”

But eager guests don’t have to wait until July for a “Cub Experience”. Already breaking hearts in Tiger Island’s Cub Display, is Sali, the sole survivor of a litter of four cubs from Perth Zoo. Sali was flown to Dreamworld on Saturday, May 17, 2008 with the aim to be integrated with the new triplets once they are vaccinated.

Starting June 21, ten guests of all ages will be able to join Sali on her own 20 minute “Cub Experience” session.

Cub Experiences cost $80 per person and are not included in the entry price. Tickets to the Cub Experience can only be booked on Terms and conditions apply.

Dreamworld’s bouncing baby girls… The as yet unnamed cubs were born on Monday, June 9 following a gestation period of between 100 to 110 days with the Tiger Island team monitoring mum around the clock through closed circuit television.

The triplets are three of a very limited number of Sumatran tiger cubs born in the Australasian region in last 10 years and are part of a globally co-ordinated breeding programme to save the species. With less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, their importance can not be underestimated.

The cubs will remain under the watchful eyes of Dreamworld’s on-site vet, Vere Nicolson, Tiger Island Manager, Patrick Martin-Vegue and the Tiger Island team which collectively has more than 40 years experience caring for and working with tigers.

“Fortunately, captive bred cubs have a 90 percent chance of survival because of their stable environment. For cubs born in the wild, the survival rate is just 25 to 50 percent due to poor nutrition, rejection by mothers and predators,” Mr Martin-Vegue said.

The cubs’ parents, Raja and Soraya have the purest blood lines in the Australasian region and will make a significant contribution to the conservation of Sumatran Tigers.

“Our aim is to ensure the appropriate genetic management of the remaining captive population of the species and raise conservation funds to support initiatives such as educating residents in areas where tigers are found in their natural habitat. This will hopefully provide a safety valve that will prevent the extinction of the species,” Mr Martin-Vegue said.

Dreamworld’s Tiger Island plays a leading role in tiger conservation world-wide through donations and hands-on involvement with field projects actively saving tigers in the wild.

With the goal of hitting the million dollar mark in July, Dreamworld’s Tiger Fund actively contributes to anti-poaching activity including anti-poaching patrols on the ground in Indonesia, India and Russia.

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