Liger cubs get canine mother
(Image Credit: © 2011 China Central Television. Caption: Officials at an east China zoo say two rare cubs, born to a male lion and a female tiger, are being nursed back to health by a kindly dog. She took over the nurturing duties, after the baby felines were abandoned by their mother.)
A dog has taken on nursing duties for two liger cubs - offspring of a male lion and a female tiger -- according to a report from China Central Television.
Four female liger cubs were born at the Xixiakou wildlife protection area in Weihai in Shandong Province on May 20, according to the report. Two of them were white and the other two were snowwhite. The mother fed them for four days, and then stopped feeding them, causing the death of two of the cubs due to malnutrition.The animal handlers found a dog to nurse the cubs. The report says that the two surviving cubs initially had trouble with the milk, but were able to adjust to it.
This isn't the first time the eight-year-old white tiger mother has abandoned her cubs. The report says she had given birth in September 2010 to three snowwhite tigers and one white tiger and also refused to feed the, The report did not give details if those cubs survived.
On the bright side, dogs adopting tiger cubs seems to be a growing trend. In 2008, a golden retriever appeared on U.S. Television with her three adopted tiger cubs.
The dog, Isabella, belonged to a couple that had a private safari park in Kansas. They were having a tough time financially and were on the verge of closing. Then a white tiger gave birth and abandoned her three cubs. The proprietors had seen a television program about a dog in Australia adopting tiger cubs so they introduced the cubs to Isabella who had just finished weaning her own puppies. Isabella took on the cubs and saved the three plus the safari park, as news spread about the blended family spread and visitors came to the park.
In other tiger news, the World Wildlife Fund this month called on Indonesian loggers to drop plans to operate in forests where infra-red video cameras have caught footage of Sumatran tigers and their cubs. The tigers were in the Bukit Tigapuluh wildlife reserve in eastern Sumatra. The island holds the second largest tiger population in the world, according to a distribution of Sumatran tigers mapped by the Wildlife Conservation Society's Indonesia Program and Forum Harimau Kita.