It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for zookeepers rallying around the clock to save a female tiger cub born unexpectedly this week.
The newborn is in stable condition but Sandie Black, head of Calgary Zoo veterinary services, said the fate of the young cub could “go either way.”
“She is in the equivalent of a baby’s neo-natal intensive care unit and right now she is tube feeding,” Black said.
Zookeepers said first-time mom Katja, a 10-year-old Siberian tiger, did many things right. “She is just an inexperienced mother. She didn’t act out in aggression but she just may have inadvertently injured the cub by mishandling her.”
While keepers didn’t notice Katja was pregnant, they said it’s common with 300-pound animals for pregnancies to go unnoticed since the babies are born less than two pounds.
“There’s really no visible change in appearance or weight and she was eating and acting normally,” Black said, adding things may not have ended differently even if the zoo knew she was pregnant. “We wouldn’t have intervened sooner; we were letting her do what tigers do.”