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Tiger cubs: One boy, one girl

By SEAN DOUGLAS Tuesday, January 20 2015

THE newborn two White Tiger cubs at Emperor Valley Zoo are a brother and sister, revealed the Zoo’s Gupte Lutchmedial to Newsday yesterday.

“We did the first inspection of the cubs today,” he said.” One is a male and the other, a female.”

The two siblings yesterday for the first time opened their eyes to behold the world into they had enterred just over a week ago (January 10), added Lutchmedial.

The male cub at five pounds is slightly heavier than his sister who weighs four and a half pounds, yet the female at 19.5 inches is slightly longer than her brother at 19 inches. The two can also be told apart because the male has darker stripes than his sister. Their mother, Rajasi, herself a White Tiger, had come to Trinidad after purchase from Pretoria, South Africa, in March 2014 along with two normal coloured male Bengals. One male, Shere Khan, is the cubs’ father. The mother is taking good care of her babies and is bonding well with her keepers, said Lutchmedial.

The White Tiger is a form of Bengal Tiger whose fur background colour is white because the creature lacks a gene to produce yellow in its coat.

The world population of Bengal Tigers of all types is about 2,000 animals, who are threatened by habitat loss.

There are about 200 White Tigers in zoos worldwide, said Lutchmedial, but no White Tigers have been seen in the wild for the past 60 years.

Lutchmedial said Rajasi would be allowed to keep her cubs for a year, especially to facilitate bonding and breast-feeding. “Their future will be decided at a later date,” he said. He said that usually females are more sought after than males, although both sexes are pursued by private zoos.

“Their parents are prolific breeders. They each are from different bloodlines and are not related to each other.” He said the cubs would be fully grown in about three years, while in the wild they usually mate at about two and a half years old.

A competition will be held to name the duo, said Lutchmedial.

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