Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tiger Cub, Day 13 - Vet Update

by Dr. Scott Larsen, Associate Veterinarian

Our tiger cub continues to grow. With the supplemental feedings, she is putting on weight and is getting closer to what we would expect for a Sumatran tiger that is 13 days old. While mom, Baha, is in a separate den for treats and training, animal care staff and veterinarians hold the baby and offer a bottle. With a cub, we must be careful to hold the baby in a sternal (legs down) position, while the baby’s head is tilted upward. There is a natural tendency to hold the baby on its back – like a human infant – but nursing on the back is not a normal position for a baby tiger.

As soon as the cub is done eating, we briefly stimulate the cub to defecate and urinate, like Baha does after the cub has nursed from her (except that we use a warm washcloth)……then the baby is put back in the nest box, in the same place that we found her. Each supplemental feeding episode takes just a few minutes and, so far, Baha has been very tolerant of all of our activity with her and her cub. We’ll continue to monitor both of them closely and take things day by day.

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