After 18 years, 2 Royal Bengal tiger cubs born in Delhi zoo

On May 4, the tigress Siddhi gave birth to five cubs. While two of them survived, three were stillborn.

After an 18-year wait, Royal Bengal tiger cubs were born at the Delhi Zoo.

On May 4, the tigress Siddhi gave birth to five cubs. While two of them survived, three were stillborn, officials aware of the matter said.

“The mother is caring for the two cubs, who completely rely on her for food. They’re both doing well. The mother tigress and her cubs are being kept under CCTV surveillance and regularly monitored by zoo staff,” said Akanksha Mahajan, director of the Delhi Zoo, in a statement on Monday.

The last time a Royal Bengal tiger cub was born at the zoo was on January 16, 2005, making it nearly two decades since the animal was successfully bred, the official said.

Delhi zoo has four adult Royal Bengal tigers — Karan, Siddhi, Aditi and Barkha. Tigress Siddhi and Aditi were born in the wild and acquired by the Delhi Zoo from Gorewada in Nagpur.

Last year in August, the zoo witnessed the birth of three white tiger cubs, two of whom have survived. The cubs were released for the first time in their enclosure last month. Officials have named the two white tiger cubs Avani and Vyom.

The officials added that they were yet to name the two Royal Bengal tiger cubs.

The Delhi zoo has housed tigers since its inception on November 1, 1959. As part of the National Zoo Policy 1998, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) began a planned conservation breeding programme for 73 critically endangered wild animal species in 2010. The Delhi Zoo has been chosen for tiger conservation and breeding.

In February, the zoo had lost a 17-year-old white tigress — Vina Rani, owing to complications arising from old age.

The birth of these pair of white tiger and Royal Bengal tiger cubs means that now there are six Royal Bengal tigers and five white tigers at the Delhi Zoo.

Officials said like the white tiger cubs, these Royal Bengal cubs will also be kept under observation for at least six months, before they are ready to be released in the open enclosure. White tigers lack the pigment pheomelanin, lending them the rare skin colour.

“We will continue to monitor them (the two cubs) and ensure the animals stay healthy. Once all vaccinations are completed and they grow up, they can be released into their enclosures for public viewing,” a zoo official said.

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