HARBIN, China, Dec. 23 (UPI) — Five captive-bred Bengal tiger cubs have finished training in a near-wild environment in China for eventual return to the wild, conservationists said.
With their adoptive mother, a Siberian tiger, the cubs are learning survival skills and developing their wild sensibilities in a specially designed zone of the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.
The five tiger cubs were born at the park, the world’s largest Siberian tiger breeding facility, in July, but because their Bengal mother rejected them staff chose the 7-year-old Siberian tiger, an experienced mother.
Through the training in the “wild” zone of the facility, the five cubs have become so adapted to the wild environment they can walk back to their dens without the mother’s guidance, park designer Liu Dan said.
“This is the first time for a mother tiger to walk with cubs in the wild field zone,” Liu said.
Built in 1986, the breeding facility is home to about 1,000 Siberian tigers and also raises other big cats including lions and Bengal tigers.