TWO RARE eight-week-old Amur tiger cubs have taken their first steps in daylight at Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The cubs were carried by mother Tschuna, watched by visitors and photographers.
The four-year-old mother was hand-reared from birth and rangers at the park were concerned that her maternal instincts might not kick in but she has proved to be a model mum since her three cubs were born in March.
The parents and another tigress Sayan live in the 8000m² Land of the Tigers, a purpose designed two acre reserve at the award winning wildlife park.
Tschuna was rejected by her own mother at birth at Wuppertal Zoo in Germany before moving to Dudley Zoo and then into YWP’s purpose built reserve.
Today’s outing came as the Russian government revealed that numbers of Amur tigers are on the rise.
Interim census results suggest there are now between 480 and 540 Amur tigers across their existing range in Russia’s Far East, where 95% of the endangered big cat’s global population is found, with at least 100 known to be cubs.
Numbers are up from the last census in 2005, which showed there were between 423 and 502 Amur tigers in the region.
Wildlife experts welcomed the increase, which they attributed to the commitment of Russian political leaders to conserving the Amur tiger, tougher anti-poaching rules and the work of rangers and conservationists.
Igor Chestin, head of WWF-Russia said: “I am pleased to see that the number of Amur tigers in Russia has increased in all the key areas where WWF has been working for many years.
“This success is due to the commitment of Russia’s political leadership and the tireless dedication of rangers and conservationists in very difficult conditions.”