Cubs - Page 1:Pregnancy | 2&3: Birth & Newborns | 4: Captive Breeding | 5: Hand Raising
Abandoned tiger cubs:
When cubs are abandoned or in danger hand raising is the alternative. This process is complicated requiring much time and dedication. The need to hand raise cubs occurs frequently in captive bred tigers as rejection levels are very high.
Health checks and feeding:
Keepers will carry out basic health checks and possibly disinfect the umbilical cord; a cub which has been unfed for some hours may also be given a solution of glucose. Subsequently, a cub must be fed milk six times a day, and watched constantly day and night.
After each feeding it is necessary to stimulate the cub to excrete. In the wild this process is induced by the licking of the tigress and in these very early days it is not something which can occur without gentle assistance.
In captivity the keeper may moisten a cotton wool ball in warm water then massage the cub's genital area.
At about 1.5 months weaning is started and keepers can introduce items like minced meat. By 3 months the cub can eat meat, or prepared felid foods, independent of assistance.
The hand raising process differs with each individual circumstance. Zoos also vary in their practices and reasons for hand raising, but what is documented above gives a good indication of events.
With Thanks To Art Slack.