August 4, 2014

Tiger Beat: Energetic cubs enjoy getting cool in the pool

The 7-month-old tiger cubs at Fresno Chaffee Zoo are a lot like energetic 8-year-olds: They like to jump in the pool, splash and push each other.

The cubs — Arya, Batari, Berani and Cinta — have a favorite perch at the pool in their habitat, where they like to lie in the water and feel it flow between their claws as it cascades into a pool below.

But if one hogs the perch, he or she is likely to get a good shove from one of the other cubs.

"We look at kids and they have this energy to spend," says Lyn Myers, assistant curator for mammals.

Born Jan. 5 at the zoo, the cubs are healthy and growing at a fast clip. At birth, they weighed about 3 pounds each. Berani, a male, now weighs 60.3 pounds, the heaviest of the litter. He was 47.1 pounds about a month ago.

As the summer temperatures rise in the central San Joaquin Valley, zoo workers keep the cubs feeling comfortable. They are given fresh water to drink and blood ice pops to cool down on.

"They used to share the (ice pops)," Myers says. "Now, they fight over them. They scream for them."

Fans also are set up in the tiger barn to cool them at night.

But nothing compares to the outdoor pool.

"Tigers and jaguars seek water and utilize it in the wild," Myers says. "They sleep and rest in it."

The Malayan cubs' breed also is known in the Indonesia rain forests for enduring greater heat and humidity as well as dealing with mosquitoes and insects.

"Our 108 degrees here are nothing to these cats," says Myers, adding the habitat is a comfortable setting for the cubs.

"In captivity, they've gotten more relaxed because their world is not as serious as in the wild."

Myers says the cubs' playfulness — in and out of the water — is on the rise. She relates it to kids just having fun.

"It will continue till about 1 1/2 to 2 years," she says. "They're going to get rowdy.

"Adult cats know they need to focus, especially on hunting. Cubs don't think like that. That kicks in later."

Theresa Horg , who was visiting the tiger habitat with daughters Ava, 5, and Danica, 1, says she can relate the cubs' playfulness to her daughters' relationship.

"I understand how siblings are," Horg says. "There's immediate playfulness with my two. Same with the tigers. They are also united from the beginning. They're so cute."


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