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St. Augustine Wild Reserve
PRESS RELEASE
22 April 2010

TIGER CUBS VISIT ST. JOHNS TECHNICAL SCHOOL

(Britt, bottle-feeding Toruk and Seze at the St. Johns Technical College)

April 14, 2010: The St. Augustine Wild Reserve was invited to the St. Johns Technical College for their Endangered Species/Global Issues Event (School-wide Literacy Project). This took place on April 14, from 10:00-12:00 in Building C. The Alligator Farm was also there with an alligator and other exotic animals.

We brought our two baby tigers, Seze and Toruk, who delighted the students with their kittenish antics, playing with stuffed toys, and drinking from their baby bottles for the crowd.

The students prepared wonderful visual presentations describing the plight of many endangered species, including tigers, snow leopards, wolves and more.

FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AND BLIND

April 15, 2010. The Reserve visited the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind for several hours, and invited the students at the school to visit with our baby tigers. Pamela Hill, the Reserveís volunteer and tour guide, wowed the crowd with her presentation on endangered species. Afterwards, the students lined up single file to visit with our tiger cubs.

           

All of the children were able to view the cubs up close and personal, for a once in a lifetime opportunity. The smiles on their faces lit up the room as they watched us bottle feed the cubs; the blind students were in awe as they pet a baby tiger for the first time in their lives, which I believe left a memorable impression on them. We hope to be able to visit the school for future animal encounters.

                  

NEW TIGER CUBS!

A miracle has occurred at the St. Augustine Wild Reserve! Two beautiful white tiger cubs were born on Feb. 11, 2010.

St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a non-breeding facility. We prefer to perform rescue operations only, and do not wish to become part of the overpopulation of exotic animals in captivity that are no longer wanted by their owners. Occasionally, we will receive an animal that is already pregnant, in which case we will keep the offspring at the Reserve throughout their entire life.

From past Press Releases, our readers are aware of two rescued tigers which arrived in late 2008, Bindhi and Krishna. We were informed by their former owner that Bindhi, who was 12 years old at the time, produced several litters that were still-born. Her former owner used her babies, that did survive in the past, for photo opportunities at fairs and flea markets, a practice that we frown upon. Because of her age and poor condition, we didnít really believe that she would ever conceive. We rescued Bindhi and Krishna at the same time before their former owner could euthanize them, and had no choice but to contain them in the same enclosure. Our plan was always to separate them as soon as another cage opened up.

Finally, in November 2009, we were able to accommodate Bindhi in another habitat where she could still see Krishna, but not be allowed to mingle with him. The two were arguing over food and we were afraid Krishna would become injured, and there was always the possibility of a successful breeding, now that Bindhi was being fed well and was putting on weight. February 11, about 106 days after the separation, my wonderful volunteer, Pam, heard babies crying in Bindhiís cage. Bindhi was not interested in her babies, which were very hungry. They were probably born during the night and had not eaten since birth. Pamís quick thinking saved these precious cubs. Pam shifted Bindhi into her lockout and collected two beautiful white tiger cubs, a male and a female. She brought them into the house, mixed up Kitten Milk Replacer formula into baby bottles and began feeding the infants, who greedily downed about one full ounce each of formula.

Newborn cubs must be stimulated to relieve themselves, something that the mother tiger is supposed to do. Pam acted as surrogate mother to the cubs, took care of their needs, and continued to feed them.

Now 6 days old, the cubs are doing great. They are fed around the clock every two to four hours, so none of us at the Reserve are getting ANY sleep whatsoever. We have taken them to the vet for a checkup and x-rays twice and were told that they are extremely healthy. Their stripes are black, which indicates that they are from distantly-related parents. Many white tigers are born with brown stripes, which indicate they are closely related and could have physical problems later in life. It just goes to show you what proper care, diet, and vitamins can do for an otherwise malnourished 14-year-old tiger, whose ribs were showing when we first acquired her and whose fur was stiff and unkempt. This of course will be the last litter of Bindhiís life, but she will be able to see these cubs grow to adulthood at the Reserve where they will receive an amazing amount of love and attention. 

We will not be showing the new cubs for quite some time. Only certain handlers at the Reserve are allowed to bottle-feed and care for the cubs. They are susceptible to diseases and stress at this young age, so we must be very careful with them. When they are about three weeks old, we will bring them out on tours so that our guests can have a look at our new baby tigers!

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