Fresno zoo's tiger cubs playing hard at 6 months old (video)

The Fresno BeeJuly 7, 2014 

At 6 months old, the four Malayan tiger cubs at Fresno Chaffee Zoo like to go, go, go!

Then, they sleep.

"They are starting to turn into tigers," says Lyn Myers, assistant curator for mammals.

"They're still active, but they're sleeping sounder. … They play hard and sleep."

Born Jan. 5, the cubs — Arya, Batari, Berani and Cinta — have grown a lot.

When they were first weighed, Cinta, a male, was the lightest at 2.82 pounds. Since then, their appetites have grown. Each chows down 2.5 pounds of meat a day.

On Monday, when zoo officials talked about the cubs reaching 6 months old, Berani, also a male, tipped the scales the heaviest at 47.1 pounds.

The cubs continue to develop their own personalities. Although they feed separately, they still have fits at feeding time.

"We're seeing more aggression during feeding," Myers says. "Their brains are kicking in: 'I don't want to share.' Tigers aren't together in the wild, like they are here."

The adorable cubs continue to have an impact on the zoo.

They have become immortalized in the gift shop. Similar to kids' finger-paint hand prints, the cubs' "paw prints" sell on canvas or in frames, ranging from $75 to $200.

At the front gate, visitors regularly ask, "Where are the tigers?" And then they make a beeline to them.

"People come just for the tiger cubs," Myers says.

"Some say they come once a month because they want to see them grow up."

Neil Jones visited the zoo on March 10, when the cubs made their public debut in the tiger habitat.

He also came Monday and could hardly believe his eyes.

"They've grown so much," he says.

Jennifer Hayes of Turlock visited the zoo Monday with her grandmother, June Maslowski of Clovis.

"She reads about them in the paper all the time," Hayes says. "She's so excited, she likes to bring people to see them."

What does Hayes think?

"They're so cute. They're like big kittens. They remind me of our cats at home. They play just like them."

The triple-digit temperatures in the central San Joaquin Valley don't bother the cubs, who splash in the tiger habitat pool to cool down.

"As long as they have water and shade, they're fine," Myers says. "Tigers are from tropical areas."

All that splashing isn't just for fun.

"Tigers hunt in water," Myers says. "They're super swimmers."

 

The reporter can be reached at rorozco@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6304.

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