Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 16:17 UK

Rare tiger cub twins born in park

Tiger cubs at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
The cubs' parents are said to have responded well to the cubs

A pair of endangered Siberian tigers have produced twin cubs at a wild animal park in Kent.

The young tigers, who have not yet been given names, were born at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Hythe on 1 April.

They have just started venturing out into the enclosure at the park run by the Aspinall Foundation.

Their four-year-old mother Ingrid, who came to the park from Norway, and father Tugar, 10, have responded well to the cubs, a park spokesperson said.

'Happy signs'

The Siberian tiger, the largest natural member of the cat family, is one of the world's 10 most endangered creatures.

Tricia Corkhill, from Port Lympne, said: "Their mother seems to be quite proud of them. She is obviously looking after them quite well, which is a sign that she is happy.

"It is quite exciting for the Aspinall Foundation because it is quite rare for Siberian Tigers to breed, especially in captivity."

Tigers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
There are more Siberian tigers in captivity than in the wild

The Siberian or Amur tiger is found in the far eastern reaches of the Asian continent - in Siberia around the Amur River - and is the largest cat.

In the wild it hunts mainly boar and deer and has been known to kill bears, although the tigers at Port Lympne are fed horse joints.

Ms Corkhill added: "Tigers are generally solitary animals but the cubs will spend their first two years with their mother. In the wild, they would occasionally meet up with their father and share kills.

"Unlike many zoos, Port Lympne and Howletts leaves the male together with is mate throughout the birth and rearing of the cubs."

With an estimated 500 to 700 of this species in the wild there are more in captivity, she added.




SEE ALSO
Rare Siberian tigers found dead
24 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Baby boom for endangered tigers
17 Jun 07 |  Science/Nature
Tigers struggle with tiny lands
20 Jul 06 |  Science/Nature

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