New Delhi: After five of a litter of six white tiger cubs died last week at Delhi zoo, authorities are making all efforts to ensure that the lone surviving cub which has been spurned by its mother is nursed back to health.
The one-week-old male cub was admitted to the zoo hospital after his mother, Kalpana, a seven-year-old white tigress, refused to attend to him.
"The lone cub is in a stable condition. We have been administering diluted goat milk and water to the cub and are on the lookout for dog milk," said zoo curator, Riaz Khan.
Of the six cubs which Kalpana had given birth to on January 21, five died due to a lack of feeding after she refused to look after them.
"Kalpana refused to accept the cubs and didn`t even let them come near her. After a while, she did not even feed them. As a result, all six became frail. Mother`s milk is crucial for cubs as it helps develop their immunity," said Khan.
Khan said instances of the mother neglecting and refusing to feed cubs have been observed at the zoo in the case of jaguars and lions as well.
"A sudden drop in temperature, humidity and rainfall are some of the reasons for the death of the cubs. Zoo authorities had to leave the cubs at least for the first two days for feeding so that they developed immunity," said Dr NVK Ashraf, Chief Veterinarian of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), who is closely working with Delhi Zoo authorities.
White tiger cubs generally have a lower survival rate as they are born with low immunity, he added.