Tigress Tschuna and the cubs’ father Vladimir are Amur Tigers, whose numbers in their native habitat in the Russian Far East have dwindled to approximately 450 due to poaching and disappearing habitat.
The four year old mother was hand-reared from birth and rangers at the park were concerned that her maternal instincts might not kick in but she has proved to be a model mum so far, as amazing pictures of the birth and Tschuna greeting her new cubs have shown.
“We watched the birth as it happened on the CCTV camera, as Tschuna had hidden herself away in peace and quiet of the cubbing den. It was a very special moment and an incredible privilege,” said Kim Wilkins, Carnivore Team Leader.
“It was so heart-warming to see how Tschuna took to motherhood and how natural the new family is. Both the birth and her bonding to the cubs was all captured – it is truly enchanting footage and I am glad that we are able to share it with everyone “
The cubs were born on March 29th and Tschuna is still caring for and feeding her cubs inside the house in the Land of Tigers. They will not be seen by visitors at the Park for some weeks to come, but the Park will be releasing further footage as the cubs grow.
The parents and another tigress Sayan enjoy life in the 8000m² Land of the Tigers, a purpose designed two acre reserve at the award winning wildlife Park in Doncaster.
Tschuna was rejected by her own mother at birth at Wuppertal Zoo in Germany before moving to Dudley Zoo and then into YWP’s purpose built reserve.
The move was recommended by the European Stud Book Coordinator for the breeding programme for the endangered Amur Tigers. Rangers at YWP were delighted when she was successfully introduced to Vladimir in September 2013, but it was not all love at first sight.
“ Vladimir was complete wimp even though Tschuna was tiny next to him,” said Animal Development Manager Simon Marsh . “She made the first move but he was horrified. It was a slow courtship but developed with time and we now have three new Amur tiger cubs. This is a major success for YWP – the most important births we have had here so far ”
On the 150m walkway at Land of the Tiger, visitors feel just a heartbeat away from nature as they observe the tigers exploring the waterfalls and woodland. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation raises money at the Park to help Amur Tigers and Leopards in the wild by supporting the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance.
Since opening in 2009 YWP, which puts conservation at the heart of all its activities, has become the UK’s fastest growing and most innovative animal attraction in the UK. Last year 550,000 visitors enjoyed the innovative walk-through experience giving them unrivalled access to some of the most amazing and endangered animals in the world.
As well as the Tigers there are Amur Leopards, Giraffes, African Painted Dogs, Lions, Meerkats, Camels and many many more.
The Park will be monitoring the progress of the cubs and will release more news on the Park website and through social media.