White tiger cubs to make public debut in Shandong
A pair of 5-month-old white tiger cubs - one of them a snow-white with no stripes - are expected to make their first public appearance during the coming Spring Festival holiday at a zoo in Qingdao, Shandong province.
Their parents were brought to the Qingdao Zoo in May 2012, and the mother gave birth to the cubs at age 4 in July this year.
The cubs are in good health and are receiving elaborate care, according to a staff member at the zoo.
"We have arranged shifts to watch the cubs around the clock to ensure their healthy growth," said Wang Xunhua, a zookeeper.
"The two cute cubs have good appetites. Together, they eat a kilogram and a half of beef and 10 chicken necks per day."
They live in an air-conditioned environment where the temperature is kept at about 25 C. Their cage is regularly sterilized, Wang said.
The white tiger is a variant of the Bengal tiger. Snow-white tigers have very pale or no stripes. The chance of a snow-white tiger birth is 1 in 100,000. There are only seven snow-white tigers in Chinese zoos and about 100 worldwide.
White tigers are extinct in the wild, and those in captivity are categorized in China as first-grade State protected animals.
A pair of 5-month-old white tigers cuddle with their mother at the Qingdao Zoo in Shandong province on Monday. The one at left is a rare snow-white color. Wang Haibin / for China Daily