Animal park shows off rare tigers

News Shopper: Kazimir, left, and Arina have been hand-reared from birth Kazimir, left, and Arina have been hand-reared from birth

Two rare tiger cubs have made their public debuts.

Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury in Kent, said the five-month-old Amur tigers, named Kazimir and Arina, have been hand-reared from birth by keeper Ben Warren.

Mr Warren said: "These cute cubs had a hard start in life, as their mum left them alone. We made the decision to hand-raise them so that they would get the nutrition and care that they needed.

"This involved hand-feeding them both at two-hourly intervals, constant supervision and regular medical checks by the on-site vet team at the wild animal park.

"It's great to see them doing well - they've both got huge characters."

The female cub, Arina, has shown signs of a lack of bone mass, causing her to walk with a limp, and has already undergone surgery to correct it, which has been partially successful.

Siberian or Amur tigers are endangered in the wild and it is estimated that only 400 remain in north-east China, eastern Russia and parts of North Korea.

Hunting for their striking coats and the false belief that their bones and teeth have medicinal properties, plus the loss of habitat, is widely responsible for their decline.

Neil Spooner, animal director at the park, said: "It's a sad fact that Amur tigers are endangered in the wild. That's why all births are so important - we need to ensure that these beautiful big cats continue to survive for generations to come.

"It's great to see how far Kazimir and Arina have come - they are really enjoying their new surroundings."

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