Pads Paws And Claws At Howletts

Tue, 05/02/2013 - 10:48am

Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury – part of the world renowned conservation charity, The Aspinall Foundation, has announced the debut of two very rare Siberian or Amur tiger cubs.

The five month old cubs named Kazimir and Arina have been hand raised, from birth, by Head of Large Carnivore Section, Ben Warren.

Ben said: ‘These cute cubs had a hard start in life, as their mum left them alone.  We made the decision to hand raise them so that they would get the nutrition and care that they needed.  This involved hand feeding them both at two hourly intervals, constant supervision and regular medical checks by the onsite vet team at the wild animal park. It’s great to see them doing well – they’ve both got huge characters.’

The boisterous brother and sister responded well to the care of their human parents, however the female – Arina, showed signs early on, of lack of bone mass causing her to walk with a limp.

Neil Spooner, Animal Director explained: ‘As the cubs became stronger we noticed that Arina was not developing as quickly as her brother and it became evident that she was suffering from a lack of calcification of her limbs.  She has already undergone surgery to correct the limp, which has been partially successful – however we will have to wait for her bones to develop further before we can look at pinning the leg to fully correct it.’

Siberian or Amur tigers are endangered in the wild and it is estimated that only 400 remain.  Hunting for their striking coats and a strong misguided belief that their bones and teeth have medicinal properties, is widely responsible for their decline.

Neil added: ‘It’s a sad fact that Amur tigers are endangered in the wild.  That’s why all births are so important – we need to ensure that these beautiful big cats continue to survive for generations to come. It’s great to see how far Kazimir and Arina have come – they are really enjoying their new surroundings.’