Tiger twins flourishing

Updated: 2014-04-06 07:43 (chinadaily.com.cn)

Tiger twins flourishing

Ying Ying chews chicken meat at a zoo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on March 22. Besides feeding on milk, the tiger cubs eat raw meat. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Thanks to nurturing zookeeper, orphaned cubs gain strength as well as superstar status.

There is an infant asylum at Hangzhou Safari Park in East China's Zhejiang province, where live young animals abandoned by their mothers after birth. People have nicknamed it the "animal orphanage".

Some female animals at the wildlife park have little experience with parental care of a litter. If the zookeepers turn a blind eye to the newborns, these fragile lives could perish.

Among the abandoned animal babies, tiger and lion cubs account for a high proportion.

Tang Xiuzhen, a zookeeper at the park, takes care of about 10 Siberian tiger cubs every year.

Several months ago, a Siberian tiger gave birth to a pair of twin sisters, whose names are Meng Meng and Ying Ying. Tang has been taking care of them at the orphanage since then.

A newly born tiger cub weighs about 1 kilogram. Every day, Tang checks the cubs' weights, makes other physical examinations, and observes their growth.

Tiger cubs cannot be fed cow milk, so it is customary for zookeepers to look for a female dog to be the surrogate mother.

For the Siberian tiger twins, the dog mother they found was docile and had abundant milk. In the first two months after their birth, the cubs needed to be fed every four hours.

Thanks to their dog mother, they grew up gradually. Now they are 4 months old. Their favorite play activity is fighting with each other.

Meng Meng and Ying Ying are the superstars at the park. Many tourists travel there just to get a look at them. The twin sisters have different personalities, too. Meng Meng is stronger and more outgoing than Ying Ying.

Recently, Meng Meng took a chance and successfully escaped from the orphanage. But shortly afterward, she became frightened by a pony at the adjacent stable. The young tiger did not dare to run, but stood transfixed with fear until the zookeepers found her.

Tiger twins flourishing Tiger twins flourishing
Tiger twins flourishing

Left: Ying Ying is surrounded by children at the zoo. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Right above: Meng Meng enjoys an after-dinner massage. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Right below: Being scolded by a zookeeper, a male tiger cub lowers his head, as if admitting his mistake. The cub refused to take medicine after he injured himself while playing. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Tiger twins flourishing Tiger twins flourishing Tiger twins flourishing

Left: A dog mother suckles her litter of puppies and the twin tiger cubs, Meng Meng and Ying Ying, at a zoo in Hangzhou. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Center: The 4-month-old twin cubs play with each other. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

Right: Dinner time comes. Zookeeper Tang Xiuzhen grabs Meng Meng for feeding. [Photo by Xu Kangping/For China Daily]

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