Whipsnade's tiger cubs off to join breeding programmes
Tuesday 20 February 2001
BYE, BYE BABIES
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is getting set to say goodbye to its infamous babies, Kharian and Kira. The 19-month-old Siberian tigers are leaving their parents, Boris and Vanda, to join the European breeding programme for this threatened species. Kharlan will be going to Antwerp Zoo in Belgium and Kira will go to Poznan Zoo in Poland, where they will be matched up with a suitable mate. Kharlan and Kira are Boris and Vanda's first litter, and the keepers will be sorry to see the cubs go.
Kharlan and Kira were born on 11 July 1999, and have been a joy to their parents, visitors and keepers alike. They have given their fare share of worry too. All parents sympathised with Vanda and Boris when Kira got stuck up a tree in October 2000; hopefully she won't make the same mistake at Poznan Zoo as Kharlan won't be there to help her down!
Boris arrived at Whipsnade from Moscow Zoo in May 1997 at two years of age. He is a very important individual as he has introduced new blood to the breeding programme, having never bred before. Vanda joined Boris from Prague Zoo in October 1997 at the age of 22 months. The tigers were a little bit cautious of each other at first, but that didn't last long.
As the tiger cubs leave for their new homes, they will be unaware that there are less than 400 Siberian tigers left in the wild, and that they will be helping to save the species from extinction. Captive breeding programmes in animal collections like Whipsnade are contributing to the survival of these magnificent animals.
For further information, or photos of Boris, Vanda, Kharian or Kira, please contact:
Julianne Mallatratt 01582 871316
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