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Calcium deficient tiger cubs improve
( 2003-07-14 10:54) (China Daily)

Three Siberian Tiger cubs in poor health because of calcium deficiencies are now recovering in East China's Zhejiang Province.

The four-month-old cubs were diagnosed as malnourished on Wednesday night and have since recovered their appetite and spirits, according to caretakers at Hangzhou Wildlife World, a wildlife park in Hangzhou.

On Thursday and Friday morning, each consumed 0.15 kilograms of beef and half a litre of milk. The most encouraging improvement was seen on Thursday morning, when they were able to stand again. For the previous four days, they could only lie on their sides.

The park called on the public for help on Wednesday when the three tigers, who are yet to be named, fell seriously ill.

On Wednesday night, an expert team led by Li Jinchang, a professor of animal nutrition from Zhejiang University, diagnosed the cubs as suffering from severe malnutrition.

Their mother, Hang Hang, abandoned the cubs at birth in March, refusing to feed them. Fed by a dog, the tigers were in poor health and had to be injected daily with a vitamin D3 supplement.

A fortnight ago, sales of vitamin D3 injections were stopped because of their side-effects in humans. Without the supplement, the tigers' condition deteriorated, leaving them too weak to stand. Their average weight was about 10 kilograms, only half that of a healthy four-month-old tiger.

After their problem was diagnosed, the cubs were given different calcium and other nutritional supplements.

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