Everyone needs play time - including this pair of Amur Tiger cubs at the Minnesota Zoo! Thanks to the donation of a bubble machine from the zoo's "Animal Enrichment Wish List," the cubs enjoyed interacting with these mysterious new "toys!"
These two female cubs had a rough start in life: both were removed from their mothers when they were less than a day old because they were not nursing successfully. The first cub was born at the Minnesota Zoo on June 17. The second cub, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on July 1, came to Minnesota on July 19. The cubs were brought together to ensure the best socialization. Now, nearly off bottles and growing strong, the cubs are on exhibit for part of the day in the Tiger Lair along the Zoo’s Northern Trail. Read about the tigers' early days here.
Enrichment is a term that applies to novel items introduced to mentally and physically stimulate animals. Enrichment can include unusual food items, often hidden so animals have to employ time and energy to locate them; toys such as boxes or tree branches; scents like spices and perfumes to stimulate olfactory senses; intensive behavioral training and interaction with zoo keepers; or unexpected items like the bubble machine.
Amur Tigers are among the rarest of wild cats, with only about 350 individuals remaining in the wilds of eastern Russia. Cubs born in zos are especially significant to the genetic health of the captive population, hence the intense efforts undertaken by the Minnesota Zoo and the Saint Louis Zoo to hand rear these two cubs.
Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo