On November 14, one of Chattogram Zoo's tigresses gave birth to three cubs. Initially, this was met with great optimism for zoo staffers, but it soon turned sour as two of the cubs died after their mother refused to nurse them.
"We were happy to see that Joya, a tigress in the zoo, gave birth to three cubs for the first time," said Shahadat Hossain Shuvo, a veterinary surgeon and curator of Chattogram Zoo. "Two of them were male and the other was female."
"However, we were worried to see the mother turning her back to the cubs since the very first day," he said.
"Usually, a tigress starts taking care of her cubs from their birth, nursing them and playing with them. But Joya was acting differently. She didn't even feed them," said the curator. "As a result, the female cub died on November 15."
Zoo authorities have been trying to keep the surviving cubs alive ever since, but they couldn't do much but watch another one die.
"We immediately took the other cubs out of Joya's cage and decided to isolate them to take care of them," he said. "But unfortunately, one of the cubs died on November 18."
"We have been feeding the third one bottled milk," he continued, "If the cub survives, it will be the first tiger in the country to have survived by artificial care." The official said the cub's health condition is now stable. After birth, it weighed 1.3 kg.
The cub is a second-generation tiger born at the zoo. His grandparents were two Bengal tigers bought from South Africa on December, 2016 at a cost of Tk 30 lakh. The tiger was named Raj while the tigress was called Pori.
The couple gave birth to three cubs in 2018. Of those, a white cub did not survive. The surviving white tigress was named Shubhra while the orange one was named Joya.
The zoo now has six tigers, including the newborn cub and another Pori gave birth to on December 31, 2019.