Monday, July 30, 2012

Pet Dog Turns Wet Nurse for Pair of Tiger Cubs

House cats, it would seem, aren't the only felines with nine lives. A pair of Siberian tiger cubs, whose mother died during birth, have been adopted by a pet dog in the Russian town of Sochi. The dog's owner, however, has a baby of her own, meaning the tigers will have to be returned to the zoo soon.

When Siberian tiger cubs Plyusha and Clyopa's mother died during their birth in late May in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, zookeepers didn't know what to do. Then, Yekaterina Khodakova, 30, and her pet dog came to their rescue.

The dog, a Shar Pei named Cleopatra, had recently given birth to two pups of her own. "The zookeeper found out by chance that my dog, Cleopatra, was producing milk because she is nursing her pups, so he asked me if the tiger cubs could also be breastfed," Khodakova told SPIEGEL. 
 Survival of the cubs would be a victory for conservationists. Siberian tigers are extremely rare: less than 400 live in the wild, mostly in the cedar forests of far eastern Russia.

Determined Effort
At first, Cleopatra was not willing to collaborate. Already nursing pups of her own, the Shar Pei was "initially reluctant and tried to bite" the tigers, said Khodakova.

After some coaxing reprimands from her owner, however, Cleopatra relented. "I didn't give up," said Khodakova. "I told Cleopatra that they would die if they didn't get milk. And sure enough, the next day, Cleopatra had adopted the unfamiliar cubs!" The dog now takes care of the tiger cubs as if they were her own puppies.

Both the dogs and the tiger cubs are getting additional sustenence during the ordeal. According to Khodakova, Cleopatra is now getting meat from the zoo "because she needs a lot of energy to breastfeed." The tiger cubs are also being fed goat milk.

Just Friends
Khodakova's gumption is remarkable considering that she also has an 18-month-old son, Gleb. She says she is "not afraid that the tiger cubs will bite (him). To (Gleb), they are like two friends."

Despite her desire to keep the cubs for longer, Khodakova knows that it they will have to leave soon. Over a month old, Plyusha and Clyopa are growing quickly, and soon, "it will be too dangerous for Gleb to play with them," says Khodakova. She says she will return the cubs to the local zoo at the end of July.

That will still leave Khodakova with a small menagerie at home. In addition to the dogs and tigers, she also has a house cat named Masyanana.

Monday, July 23, 2012

No more photos with Siberian tiger cubs in China

Wildlife conservation and forestry departments in a Chinese province have announced that visitors will not be allowed to click themselves with Siberian tiger cubs at a tiger park in future.

The step followed a complaint filed by a resident, surnamed Li, living near Siberian Tiger Park, the largest Siberian tiger breeding base in the world, to the provincial forestry department, Xinhua reported Thursday.
Li said that visitors to the park were allowed to take pictures with Siberian tiger cubs for 100 yuan (about $16).

"The cubs cried miserably, and that's so pitiful," said Li, adding that the cubs would hide behind the tree after being photographed. "Obviously, they aren't willing to do this."

Li's complaint won the support of local wildlife conservation and forestry departments, and the relevant departments of Heilongjiang province decided to stop the profitable activity.

Some wildlife enthusiasts, however, said the practice was understandable as many animal parks and zoos suffer from a lack of funding.

Siberian tigers are among the world's rarest species. Their population in the wild is estimated to stand at around 500. Most of the tigers live in east Russia and northeast China.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Man Commits Suicide By Wandering Into Siberian Tiger Pen

A man was killed by tigers at Copenhagen Zoo today after he scaled a fence and crossed a moat to gain access to the predators’ enclosure. The victim, who was 21, was savaged by three tigers after he broke into the zoo in the Danish capital in the early hours. He was found dead surrounded by the Siberian tigers when staff arrived for work. It is unclear why the man, who has not yet been identified, entered the enclosure but police have not ruled out suicide as a possible motive. Superintendent Lars Borg revealed that a post-mortem examination has shown the man was bitten on the thigh, chest, face and throat. ‘The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death.

A lot of people feel a certain way about cats, but when you look at their build there really aren’t that many better killers out in the animal kingdom. Big cats and sharks kind of have a stranglehold on things. People hate housecats because they live their lives believing they’re a tiger when really they’re just a pussy, but legitimate tigers should be respected for the jugular-striking murderers they are. They’re quick, strong, hunt in packs, always land on their feet, and have Wolverine claws. This kid knew what he was doing.

He went out with a fight. Some people prefer a quiet suicide with lots of solemn reflection, others wanna fist-fight a pack of Siberian tigers until we see who’s best. Yeah, the tigers are best, but if my man held his own I’m sure there’s a bloody tiger missing an eye or something. Either way it was way more riveting than jumping off a bridge or taking a Seau-ing himself the chest.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Siberian Tiger Cub, Puppy And Cat All Play Together

Meet Plyusha, a baby Siberian tiger born in late May at a small zoo in Sochi, Russia. Since poaching is a real threat to the species, the zoo was overjoyed until, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the mother refused to feed her babies.
Luckily for the cubs, the zoo was found Yekaterina Khodakova, a woman with a Shar Pei dog who recently had a litter of puppies -- and she began to feed the baby tigers as her own.
Scroll through the photos of baby Plyusha playing with the puppy, a cat, and a baby -- they're almost too good to be true.
Want more adorable pictures of newborn animals? Click over to this slideshow of baby otters cuddling and sleeping on towels.