The Siberian tiger population went up by 1%, right here at the Jersey Shore.
On May 2 at Six Flags Wild Safari in Jackson, Siberian tiger Nadya gave birth to a rare litter of five cubs, boosting the population of the endangered species, which is about 500 in the wild, by 1%.
During the cubs’ first health checkup at 3 weeks old, the Six Flags Veterinary Team noted that the smallest of the cubs, a female, still weighed 2.5 pounds, which is a typical birth weight. Her remaining brothers and sisters — three girls and a boy — were 6 pounds each by then.
The tiniest sibling was brought to the park’s clinic, where she remained in an incubator and received around-the-clock bottle-feeding until her health improved.
“Without human intervention, she would not have survived,” said Six Flags veterinarian Dr. Ken Keiffer, who noted that about 50% of wild tigers survive.
As the largest species of wildcat in the world, Siberian tigers (also known as Amur tigers) average about 11 feet long with a 3 foot tail. These powerful and solitary carnivores sport a bold orange and black coat with unique stripe patterns. They live in Russia, China and North Korea. Outside of their natural habitat, some can be found in zoos around world.
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The Siberian tiger population at Six Flags Wild Safari was doubled by this birth, and can be seen (including Nadya and four of the cubs) in the safari’s Tigris Asiana section of the Drive-Thru Adventure in the coming weeks. The littlest cub will remain in the clinic for the next few months.
“Nadya’s cubs help ensure the survival of this precious species for at least two more decades,” Keiffer said. “At Six Flags, we aim to teach our guests about conservation, and we hope it inspires them to help preserve these and other amazing animals here on Earth.”
Go: 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson; 732-928-2000, sixflags.com/greatadventure
Gabriela L. Laracca joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey in 2021 and eagerly brings her passion for cuisine and culture to our readers. Send restaurant tips to [email protected]