Rajasi has 2 cubs

The tiger and her cubs, all of whom are doing well, are currently in isolation, away from the glare of the public as the first-time mother bonds with her young ones.

“They are already nursing and she has been playing around with them,” an enthusiastic president of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago Gupte Lutchmedial said of the cubs, the newest additions to the zoo’s family.

Lutchmedial and his staff had been monitoring Rajasi’s condition for some time having observed she and her companion, Shere Khan, mating at the zoo.

The female Bengal tiger, which originated in Pretoria, South Africa, arrived at the Emperor Valley Zoo in March 2014 and has been housed at a specially-prepared enclosure built to international standards in accordance with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Lutchmedial said the first of the cubs came at about 7.15 am yesterday, while the other came 15 minutes later.

At this stage, they could not identify the sex of the cubs nor have they given them names.

He said a monitor has been set up at the zoo so that visitors can view Rajasi nursing and playing with her cubs.

“It may be another two to three weeks before the public might be able to see her,” he told Sunday Newsday.

Zoological officer Charlene Khan, who monitored Rajasi’s pregnancy around the clock, said the births had created much excitement at the zoo.

She said the tiny cubs will be monitored over a three-month period.

“The most important thing is to keep them here and ensure that they are feeding,” she said. Khan said the cubs have created history at the zoo.

“They are the first white tigers to be born in this part of the world,” she said, adding that there were about 200 white Bengal tigers in captivity throughout the world.

Khan said the zoo usually hosts a competition for visitors interested in naming animals at the facility.

Lutchmedial could not say if the cubs will assume permanent residence at the zoo.

“Chances are they will stay or, if not, for at least a year,” he said.

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