Made Arya Kencana
Bali’s newest celebrity residents are three female white Bengal tiger cubs born in captivity at the Bali Zoo in Gianyar.
“We named them Punja, Delta and Gangga,” the zoo’s public relations director, Emma Kristiana Chandra, said on Friday.
The cubs were born 18 days ago and are reported to be developing normally, weighing in at about four kilograms each. They are being housed in a special enclosure with their mother, 9-year-old Kartini.
“We have not really let zoo visitors know about the births because the cubs are still breast-feeding and are at a delicate stage of their growth,” zoo veterinarian I Gusti Agung Rangga Wiradharma said. “We will make an announcement and let visitors know about the presence of the cubs once they are four months old.”
Kartini has reportedly turned more aggressive since giving birth, especially toward people who approach her enclosure.
Zoo workers have increased the amount of red meat they feed Kartini from 8 kilograms a day to 10 kilograms. They supplement this with calcium tablets.
“The cubs are feeding strictly on breast milk,” Rangga said.
The birth of the three cubs could prove a big draw for the zoo. “It’s really extraordinary to see such a rare animal,” said Michele, an Australian tourist visiting the zoo.
The Bengal tiger is classified as an endangered species with a total population of less than 2,500 individuals.