Sadly Api reacted as first-time animal mothers sometimes do, and rejected her babies. When they were four hours old, cold and hungry, the decision was made to hand rear the cubs. While this is not optimal from anyone's point of view, with Malayan tigers critically endangered in the wild with only about 300 remaining, and only 66 in the North American captive population, no one wants to take chances with their survival.
|Mmm mmm good...|
Raising the cubs has been a spectacular success. They are healthy and growing fast! Right now they are being fed a special formula, with a meat baby food added to get them used to the taste.
|The vet tech wears a mic so she can talk to viewers about the cubs and their care during the feedings.|
A few weeks ago the Zoo opened two of the feedings each day to public view. The new Animal Wellness Center offers large windows on the surgical rooms, and that's where the babies are fed.
|Getting strong - the larger cub can climb out of their "playpen" already! The playpen isn't their living quarters - just for playtime after feeding.|
Feedings are preceded by a 15-minute educational talk. Then staff and volunteers like me stand by displays about tiger populations, conservation, and threats. It's really fun to have a chance to share ways people can help the tigers. These babies are ambassadors for their species and for the rain forest habitat their wild brethren require.
|I can't tell them apart but the veterinary staff can identify them by the stripe patterns on their tails. Currently they are called 000 and 001, until there's public input on their names.|
|Wrestling matches have begun. The boys will be kept together for the next few years.|
Mostly we educate people about the devastating impact of deforestation for palm oil. Avoiding palm oil isn't the answer. Looking for the RSPO label on products-
or using this app from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo shows you which products have committed to sustainable palm oil.* It gives you the power to avoid contributing to the extinction of Malayan tigers and many other species, including orangutans.
Tigers are solitary. They need a large territory. When forests shrink, territories overlap, and fights ensue.