[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
LANGUAGES
Somali
French
Swahili
Great Lakes
Hausa
Portuguese
Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Tiger cubs reach hunting school
South China tiger cub
Animal experts will teach the tigers how to hunt
Two tiger cubs have arrived in South Africa from China to to learn how to hunt.

A seven-month-old female named Cathay and a six-month-old male called Hope looked groggy but relaxed after their long flight, according to a Reuters news agency reporter.

When the cage doors opened, they quickly ran into their temporary enclosure at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria.

After initially being guided by trainers, they will eventually learn how to live by themselves, according to Lu Jun, the forestry official in charge of the programme.

After a few weeks they are being moved to a 30-square-kilometre reserve to learn how to hunt warthog and impala.

This, it is hoped, will prepare them to hunt deer and wild boar back in China's dwindling forests.

Killing

The tigers were despatched by Shanghai Zoo, where they were born, because officials are concerned they will lose touch with their urge to kill.

On their return to China in 2008 in time for the Olympic Games, the tigers will be housed in a purpose-built conservation park.

Lu Jun said two Bengal tigers had benefited from a similar programme.

Before going to South Africa it took them as long as 40 minutes to kill an antelope but by the end of their course, they had the kill down to 20 seconds, he said.

Attempts to develop tigers' killer instincts at a nature reserve in China have been unsuccessful due to lack of space and trainers to teach the tigers.

There are some 60 South China tigers in captivity, but fewer than 30 estimated to be wild.




SEE ALSO:
Tiger cubs sent to hunting school
15 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Camera snaps tiger's return to China
07 Feb 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China's pandas have sex education lessons
27 Jun 02  |  Asia-Pacific


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific