Thursday, 12 June 2008

Dreamworld’s Sumatran tiger cub triplets get comfy at Tiger Island

It’s day three into the lives of Dreamworld’s as yet unnamed Sumatran tiger cubs and the trio are settling into their new surroundings with ease.

Sharing a birthday with their mother, Sumatran tiger Soraya, the two sisters and their brother were born the morning of June 9 weighing a healthy 1.3kg, 1.28kg and 1.13kg.

Tigers are known for the speed at which they grow and the tiny trio are no exception already gaining an average of 113 grams thanks to Soraya’s natural mothering instincts. At this rate it will be only a fortnight before they make their public debut at Dreamworld’s Tiger Island nursery.

Said Dreamworld Life Sciences General Manager Al Mucci, “We are so lucky that Soraya is such a great Mum. She’s given us two beautiful tigers in Indah and Rahni and now, second time around, she’s blessed us with three more.”

Tiger Island Manager Patrick Martin-Vegue was present for the birth and is as proud as any Dad could be.

“Both Soraya and the cubs are doing really well. Like most newborns they spend most of their day tucked tight into Mum, sleeping and eating.

“The first two came early morning Monday but the third took its time and was born just before 11am. They had their first vet check yesterday and have all been given a clean bill of health.”

Senior Tiger Handler Dan Hodges was the “night watchman” when Soraya began to show signs of labour.

“Soraya entered her den box at around 4.30am and started showing nesting behaviours like excessive grooming. The real contractions began around 6.30am, an hour before the first cub was born.”

All nine Tiger Island staff rushed to Dreamworld in time for the birth.

“It was an amazing experience; about nine handlers crowded into our staff room watching the birth on monitors and letting out cheers as each cub came out.”

Heralding the new litter was Sumatran tiger cub Sali (pronounced “sarli”) who arrived at Dreamworld on Saturday, May 17 after being rejected by her inexperienced first time mother at another zoo. Now almost nine weeks old, Sali will hopefully be integrated with the new litter in the next few weeks.

News of the tiger trio’s arrival has spread as far as China and the USA. It won’t be long before the whole of Australia will be going ga-ga over the cute cubs when they leave the den and make their debut at the glass fronted Tiger Island nursery.

“Sali is already breaking hearts and, pending their health, the new cubs will relocate to Tiger Island’s nursery in time for the Queensland school holidays.

“By the end of July we’ll start offering cub experiences and guests of all ages will be able to play with, pat and have their photos taken with the cubs. Cub experiences are a great chance for the cubs to get out and start interacting with people and to raise much needed funds for conservation projects working tirelessly to save tigers in the wild.”

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