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September 28, 2010

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Abandoned cubs go to nursery

SHANGHAI Zoo has opened a "nursery" and "kindergarten" for eight South China tiger cubs and a jaguar cub, officials said yesterday.

The four cubs in the nursery - three tigers and a jaguar born this year - had been abandoned by their mothers, the zoo said.

Qing Qing, the tigers' mother, had four cubs on April 14, but refused to feed them. She had abandoned cubs twice before, so the zoo was fully prepared. Carers put the cubs into feeding boxes and fed them with milk. The weakest, however, died three days later.

The jaguar is about a month younger than the tigers and they bully him. "They could play together but could never eat together," said Liu Qunxiu, a carer with the zoo. "The baby tigers would rob the jaguar for his food, and the jaguar was not able to beat them.

"They can stay together for at most another one to two months," he added, "or they'll fight every day."

Carers said that in the nursery, the cubs will be expected to learn to eat by themselves. When they are a year old, they will be moved to the kindergarten for another year. Five young tigers born last year are already in the kindergarten.


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