Endangered tiger cubs have first health checks as ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
PUBLISHED: 15:46 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 10 September 2018
Three eight-week-old endangered tiger cubs received their first health check from vets at Whipsnade Zoo's tiger enclosure.
The zoo’s team of vets performed the checks on male Amur tiger cubs Dmitri, Makari and Czar, with the help of zookeepers. The vets were able to safely enter the enclosure while seven-year-old tigress mum Naya and dad Botzman ate breakfast in their den, and checked the cubs’ eyes, ears and teeth and gave them routine vaccinations.
Team leader Donovan Glyn said: “This was such a wonderful moment for the keepers here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, not only having the incredible privilege of seeing these beautiful cubs up close, but helping our vets assess Dmitri, Makari and Czar, who are all doing really well.
“The cubs weighed in at about 8kg (17lb), and it’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown in the couple of months since they were born.
“You do have to be very mindful of that when you’re going in to give them vaccinations – they’re not quite like little kittens anymore - but we’re an experienced team that has the cubs’ welfare as our number one priority, so we were able to keep them calm and content throughout the process.”
The cubs were born on Saturday, June 23, just 121 days after Naya was introduced to Botzman as part of the European Endangered Species breeding Programme (EEP), which works with zoos across Europe. A fourth cub sadly had to be put to sleep by vets due to poor health.
Amur tigers, or panthera tigris altaica, are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Thanks to organisations like ZSL (Zoological Society of London), which work with Amur tigers in the Russian Far East, there are now an estimated 500 left in the wild - ten times the number which were estimated to exist in the 1940s.