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Two tiger cubs hurt at Brookfield Zoo
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff

Two tiger cubs were hurt at Brookfield Zoo after one stuck a paw through the cage of an adult male tiger.


Courtesy of Brookfield Zoo

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Published: 9/28/200 3:40 PM | Updated: 9/29/2007 12:30 AM

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Brookfield Zoo officials said today they are investigating the circumstances surrounding injuries to two baby Amur tigers.

Zoo staff members believe one of the 4-month-old cubs stuck its paw through the bars of an enclosure into a male tiger's area and was attacked around 8 a.m. Thursday.

As a result, part of the cub's foreleg had to be amputated. Both female cubs lost parts of their tails, which might have been caused by their mother, Tiara, coming to their defense.

"We believe, potentially, when mom came and tried to get the cubs away from the male, she inadvertently injured their tails," vice president of animal care Kim Smith said today.

Both baby tigers are recovering well from surgeries, officials said.

"The cub with the forelimb issue was up and moving about," Smith said. "She was able to move from one cage to another and was acting very normally. The other cub is very alert, too."

Zoo staff members were not with the tigers when the incident occurred.

In addition to their outdoor space, Tiara and her cubs occupy an indoor enclosure with separate stalls next to an area for the male tiger, Robeki, the cubs' father.

The cages are separated by narrow metal bars.

Asked if the incident could have been prevented, Smith said, "we are currently investigating and do not have an answer for that right now."

"Our keepers are very saddened by this."

The long-term prognosis for the cub who lost part of its leg looks positive, Smith said. Once the cubs' wounds have healed, they will be moved near their mother.

"As soon as we can, we'll put them in a stall adjacent to her so they can see and smell her again," Smith said. Keepers will monitor the cubs' behavior to determine whether to physically reunite the cubs and Tiara.

Male tigers typically are solitary animals.

"He was reacting to something coming into his cage," Smith said.