Thursday, 26 June 2008

It’s a girrl - Feisty boy turns out to be fiery girl

In the wee hours of Monday June 9, three tiny cubs were born at Dreamworld’s Tiger Island; two little girls and their feisty baby brother. But during routine health checks last week, Dreamworld veterinarian Vere Nicholson and Tiger Island Manager Patrick Martin-Vegue stumbled across something very interesting; our feisty little guy is actually a fiery little girl.

“At the time, our main focus was to check the health of the cubs and get them back to Soraya as quickly as possible. Determining the sex was a bonus,” said Vere, before adding that, “It’s a bit difficult to differentiate the sex of tiger cubs when they are small as there is literally a millimetre of difference.”

“The three girls have helped redress an imbalance towards males in the Australasian region. From a genetic management perspective it’s good to have an equal breakdown for regional planning of the captive breeding population.”

Said Martin-Vegue, “At least now that we know there are three confirmed girls, we can have our Dreamworld team give one an appropriate female style name.”

Sharing a birthday with their mother Soraya, the as yet unnamed cubs were born after a gestation period of between 100 to 110 days, the Tiger Island team monitoring mum around the clock through closed circuit television.

It won’t be long before the whole of Australia will go ga-ga over the all girl group as they leave the den and make their public 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 two Sumatran sisters at 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 Experiences Dreamworld guests will have one-on-one time with the cubs and learn more about the tigers from our handlers. They will be able to see the cubs 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 trio once they are vaccinated.

Starting this week, ten guests of all ages have been joining Sali on her own 20 minute Cub Experience sessions.

Cub Experiences cost $80 per person and are not included in the entry price.

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