There are two new baby tigers at the Bronx Zoo's Tiger Mountain exhibit. Nadia and Azul, two female Malayan tigers, were born in January and hand-raised by the zoo's staff because their mother wasn't "providing suitable maternal care."
Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Director of the Bronx Zoo, said, "The majority of animals born at the Bronx Zoo are raised by their parents. But in certain cases, the moms need help raising offspring. Our keepers did a wonderful job raising the Malayan tiger cubs through the critical first few months of their lives. As the cubs mature, they are learning ‘how to be tigers’ and following their instincts and developing the skills and behavior of adult tigers. The transition process from cub to young adult is amazing to witness."
The Wildlife Conservation Society says this is the third litter of Malaysian tiger cubs born at the zoo:
Initially, the cubs required 24-hour care and were bottle-fed a milk formula every three hours. Food intake was carefully recorded, and the cubs were weighed daily to ensure they gained an appropriate amount of weight.
The cubs were fully weaned by 40 days of age, at which time they began to be slowly introduced to sights, sounds, and smells of adult tigers.
After being allowed to properly acclimate to the off-exhibit holding areas at Tiger Mountain, the cubs began exploring the expansive outdoor exhibit space.
The Bronx Zoo is breeding Malayan tigers and Amur tigers as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Nadia and Azul will only be at Tiger Mountain for a few hours a day until they become more comfortable. And, the WCS reminds us, "Like all tiger subspecies, Malayan tigers are solitary and only come together for breeding. Malayan tigers are smaller than their Bronx Zoo Tiger Mountain counterparts, the Amur tiger. Adult Malayan tigers weigh 250-300 pounds."
Malayan and Amur tigers do hang out together.
If you have ever wondered about raising tigers, I highly recommend BBC's Tigers About the House, which follows the Australia Zoo's head of big cats Giles Clark raising two Sumatran tigers in his home:
The Bronx Zoo is at 2300 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx.