Tiger Cubs of Bandung Zoological Gardens

Tiger Cubs In Need

mum and babies

Syla with Asin and Maharani prior to rejection

This year on Eid al Fitr (the religious holiday celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan), the female Bengal tiger, Syla, gave birth to the beautiful cubs Asin (male) and Maharani (female). The birth went smoothly and both mother and cubs were very healthy. 

All was going well, but then one day Syla began to show aggressive behavior towards the cubs. Her behavior became very unsettling and it became obvious that it was too dangerous to leave the cubs with her. Asin and Maharani had to be removed quickly from Syla.

It is not uncommon or unheard of in the animal world, (wild or captive), that aggressive behavior or even infanticide occurs. Studies have found that some of the reasons big cat mothers (and other species) can reject their new born’s are as follows:

* inexperience,

* disturbance,

* scientific literature on parental infanticide suggests its part of maternal behavior where a female may adjust her litter size to suit her ability to raise offspring,

* illness in a cub,

* lack of interest,

* stress and anxiety factors, and

* lack of food

 For more on rejection and infanticide, please see the following articles

By all accounts, Syla, who was born in the Maharani Zoo, Indonesia, is in very good health for a 9 year old robust female tiger. By all accounts, she has lived a relatively serene life. While a case could be made regarding stress factors upon animals within a captive environment, especially those who are not receiving correct diet, incorrect enclosure sizes, lack of enrichment, or are being used in exploitation for tourist selfies and man handling etc, Syla has never been subjected to any of those things. The cases of infanticide and rejection are common both in the wild and in captivity. While Syla is in perfect health and has never previously shown any negative or stereotypical behavior, it currently remains a mystery as to why she became aggressive to her new born cubs.

Asin and Maharani have now been removed and are being cared for under 24/7 specialist care by the Bandung Zoological Gardens Veterinarians.  

babies 3a babies 4a

The male tiger cub “Asin”                                                                                                                          The female tiger cub “Maharani” 

With these unexpected new arrivals and turn of events, a rush of activity has occurred to accommodate these beautiful little bengal’s and ensure they remain in the best of health. At this point, the cubs are being monitored around the clock and being fed throughout the day and night. For all baby mammals, the main source of their diet in the early months is the milk from their mothers.  When baby mammals have been abandoned or rejected, such a Asin and Maharani have, then a specially made formula is required to replace all the vitamins and minerals which their mothers would have naturally provided. Thankfully, Asin and Maharani had the benefit of receiving Syla’s colostrum, which is vital to provide the cubs with immune protection, colostrum has a mild laxative effect and helps the babies to pass their first stools, and colostrum helps to establish a healthy gut microbiome. 

As Syla can no longer feed the cubs, Asin and Maharani, must be given a tiger milk formula to ensure they continue to flourish.

As of now, some of this tiger milk formula has been sourced from another sanctuary, however as this formula is not made in Indonesia it must be sourced from elsewhere.  This unexpected situation means that there is now an urgent need to get more supplies within the next couple of weeks.

Cee4life has been able to source this formula within Australia via “Wombaroo” and “Not Just Natives”  and we have ordered 40kg of the formula which we will deliver on a mercy flight in the next weeks. In a few months, as the cubs grow older, they will begin to be introduced to meat and they will continue to have milk in their diet until they are comfortably weaned.  A carnivore supplement (which will also be sourced in Australia at this time) will be introduced to ensure they receive the correct vitamins and minerals that a wild tiger would normally have naturally in their diet.  The young tigers will have to have this included in their diet for the rest of their lives. 

At this moment, the formula is of urgent need.

We created a fundraiser via Chuffed to help raise the funds for the dietary needs of these two precious babies and to see them through to 2 years old. We thought it would take a while to raise these funds, but over 24 hours, two lovely people contacted us and now the cubs have 4 months supply!!! Amazing and wonderful!

If you would like to support the work of Cee4life please go to http://www.cee4life.org/supporters  or our Paypal – cee4lifeinc@outlook.com

We will continue to update regularly on the progress of Eshen and Maharani, and look forward to seeing them grow into big and strong magnificent Bengal tigers.